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Water 2012, 4(3), 629-649; doi:10.3390/w4030629

Microporous Silica Based Membranes for Desalination

Films and Inorganic Membrane Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 July 2012 / Revised: 11 August 2012 / Accepted: 21 August 2012 / Published: 3 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Water Desalination)
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This review provides a global overview of microporous silica based membranes for desalination via pervaporation with a focus on membrane synthesis and processing, transport mechanisms and current state of the art membrane performance. Most importantly, the recent development and novel concepts for improving the hydro-stability and separating performance of silica membranes for desalination are critically examined. Research into silica based membranes for desalination has focussed on three primary methods for improving the hydro-stability. These include incorporating carbon templates into the microporous silica both as surfactants and hybrid organic-inorganic structures and incorporation of metal oxide nanoparticles into the silica matrix. The literature examined identified that only metal oxide silica membranes have demonstrated high salt rejections under a variety of feed concentrations, reasonable fluxes and unaltered performance over long-term operation. As this is an embryonic field of research several target areas for researchers were discussed including further improvement of the membrane materials, but also regarding the necessity of integrating waste or solar heat sources into the final process design to ensure cost competitiveness with conventional reverse osmosis processes.
Keywords: desalination; pervaporation; microporous silica; metal oxide silica; hybrid silica; carbon template silica desalination; pervaporation; microporous silica; metal oxide silica; hybrid silica; carbon template silica

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Elma, M.; Yacou, C.; Wang, D.K.; Smart, S.; Diniz da Costa, J.C. Microporous Silica Based Membranes for Desalination. Water 2012, 4, 629-649.

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