Effect of Casting Conditions on SMM Blended Polyethersulfone Hydroâ€“Phobic/â€“Philic Composite Membranes: Characteristics and Desalination Performance in Membrane Distillation
AbstractThis study aims at further improvement and development of the novel hydroâ€“phobic/â€“philic composite membranes which are made specifically for membrane distillation (MD). This was attempted by studying the effect of the casting conditions during the membrane preparation process by the phase inversion method. Two variables were chosen to study, which are the evaporation time before gelation and the gelation path temperature. Some of the membranes were allowed to evaporate at room temperature for 2 or 3 minutes to study the effect of evaporation time. The temperature of the gelation path was varied to 4Â°C, 20Â°C or 60Â°C in order to study the gelation path temperature effect. The prepared membranes were characterized using gas permeation test, measurement of the liquid entry pressure of water (LEPw), Xâ€“ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact angle measurements and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The effects of the casting conditions on the membrane morphology were identified, which enabled us to link the membrane morphology to the membrane performance. The membranes were then tested for desalination of 0.5 M NaCl solution by direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) and the results were compared to commercial polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) membrane. It was found that the membrane which was prepared with no evaporation time produced better flux than those with evaporation time. Regarding the gelation path temperature; the membrane prepared with gelation path temperature of 4Â°C was better than those prepared with gelation path temperature of 20 or 60Â°C. It should be emphasized that the DCMD flux of the membranes prepared with no evaporation time or with a gelation path temperature of 4Â°C was superior to the commercial one. Furthermore, all the prepared membranes were tested successfully for the desalination application. In other words, no NaCl was detected in the permeate.
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