Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Poly(vinylbenzylchloride) Based Anion-Exchange Blend Membranes (AEBMs): Influence of PEG Additive on Conductivity and Stability
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 32; doi:10.3390/membranes7020032 -
Abstract
In view of the many possible applications such as fuel cells and electrolysers, recent interest in novel anion exchange membranes (AEMs) has increased significantly. However, their low conductivity and chemical stability limits their current suitability. In this study, the synthesis and characterization of
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In view of the many possible applications such as fuel cells and electrolysers, recent interest in novel anion exchange membranes (AEMs) has increased significantly. However, their low conductivity and chemical stability limits their current suitability. In this study, the synthesis and characterization of several three- and four-component anion exchange blend membranes (AEBMs) is described, where the compositions have been systematically varied to study the influence of the AEBM’s composition on the anion conductivities as well as chemical and thermal stabilities under strongly alkaline conditions. It was shown that the epoxide-functionalized poly(ethylene glycol)s that were introduced into the four-component AEBMs resulted in increased conductivity as well as a marked improvement in the stability of the AEBMs in an alkaline environment. In addition, the thermal stability of the novel AEBMs was excellent showing the suitability of these membranes for several electrochemical applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Thin Film Nanocomposite Membrane Filled with Metal-Organic Frameworks UiO-66 and MIL-125 Nanoparticles for Water Desalination
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/membranes7020031 -
Abstract
Knowing that the world is facing a shortage of fresh water, desalination, in its different forms including reverse osmosis, represents a practical approach to produce potable water from a saline source. In this report, two kinds of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) nanoparticles (NPs), UiO-66
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Knowing that the world is facing a shortage of fresh water, desalination, in its different forms including reverse osmosis, represents a practical approach to produce potable water from a saline source. In this report, two kinds of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) nanoparticles (NPs), UiO-66 (~100 nm) and MIL-125 (~100 nm), were embedded separately into thin-film composite membranes in different weight ratios, 0%, 0.05%, 0.1%, 0.15%, 0.2%, and 0.3%. The membranes were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) of m-phenylenediamine (MPD) in aqueous solution and trimesoyl chloride (TMC) in an organic phase. The as-prepared membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle measurement, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) spectroscopy, and salt rejection and water flux assessments. Results showed that both UiO-66 and MIL-125 could improve the membranes’ performance and the impacts depended on the NPs loading. At the optimum NPs loadings, 0.15% for UiO-66 and 0.3% for MIL-125, the water flux increased from 62.5 L/m2 h to 74.9 and 85.0 L/m2 h, respectively. NaCl rejection was not significantly affected (UiO-66) or slightly improved (MIL-125) by embedding these NPs, always at >98.5% as tested at 2000 ppm salt concentration and 300 psi transmembrane pressure. The results from this study demonstrate that it is promising to apply MOFs NPs to enhance the TFC membrane performance for desalination. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
A Short Review of Membrane Fouling in Forward Osmosis Processes
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 30; doi:10.3390/membranes7020030 -
Abstract
Interest in forward osmosis (FO) research has rapidly increased in the last decade due to problems of water and energy scarcity. FO processes have been used in many applications, including wastewater reclamation, desalination, energy production, fertigation, and food and pharmaceutical processing. However, the
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Interest in forward osmosis (FO) research has rapidly increased in the last decade due to problems of water and energy scarcity. FO processes have been used in many applications, including wastewater reclamation, desalination, energy production, fertigation, and food and pharmaceutical processing. However, the inherent disadvantages of FO, such as lower permeate water flux compared to pressure driven membrane processes, concentration polarisation (CP), reverse salt diffusion, the energy consumption of draw solution recovery and issues of membrane fouling have restricted its industrial applications. This paper focuses on the fouling phenomena of FO processes in different areas, including organic, inorganic and biological categories, for better understanding of this long-standing issue in membrane processes. Furthermore, membrane fouling monitoring and mitigation strategies are reviewed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Influence of Membrane Equivalent Weight and Reinforcement on Ionic Species Crossover in All-Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 29; doi:10.3390/membranes7020029 -
Abstract
One of the major sources of lost capacity in all-vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) is the undesired transport (usually called crossover) of water and vanadium ions through the ion-exchange membrane. In this work, an experimental assessment of the impact of ion-exchange membrane properties
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One of the major sources of lost capacity in all-vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) is the undesired transport (usually called crossover) of water and vanadium ions through the ion-exchange membrane. In this work, an experimental assessment of the impact of ion-exchange membrane properties on vanadium ion crossover and capacity decay of VRFBs has been performed. Two types of cationic membranes (non-reinforced and reinforced) with three equivalent weights of 800, 950 and 1100 g·mol−1 were investigated via a series of in situ performance and capacity decay tests along with ex situ vanadium crossover measurement and membrane characterization. For non-reinforced membranes, increasing the equivalent weight (EW) from 950 to 1100 g·mol−1 decreases the V(IV) permeability by ~30%, but increases the area-specific resistance (ASR) by ~16%. This increase in ASR and decrease in V(IV) permeability was accompanied by increased through-plane membrane swelling. Comparing the non-reinforced with reinforced membranes, membrane reinforcement increases ASR, but V(IV) permeability decreases. It was also shown that there exists a monotonic correlation between the discharge capacity decay over long-term cycling and V(IV) permeability values. Thus, V(IV) permeability is considered a representative diagnostic for assessing the overall performance of a particular ion-exchange membrane with respect to capacity fade in a VRFB. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fabrication of Defect-Free Cellulose Acetate Hollow Fibers by Optimization of Spinning Parameters
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 27; doi:10.3390/membranes7020027 -
Abstract
Spinning of cellulose acetate (CA) with the additive polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent under different conditions was investigated. The spinning parameters of air gap, bore fluid composition, flow rate of bore fluid, and quench bath temperature were optimized based on the
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Spinning of cellulose acetate (CA) with the additive polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent under different conditions was investigated. The spinning parameters of air gap, bore fluid composition, flow rate of bore fluid, and quench bath temperature were optimized based on the orthogonal experiment design (OED) method and multivariate analysis. FTIR and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize the membrane structure and morphology. Based on the conjoint analysis in Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software, the importance of these parameters was identified as: air gap > bore fluid composition > flow rate of bore fluid > quench bath temperature. The optimal spinning condition with the bore fluid (water + NMP (85%)), air gap (25 mm), flow rate of bore fluid (40% of dope rate), and temperature of quench bath (50 °C) was identified to make high PVP content, symmetric cross-section and highly cross-linked CA hollow fibers. The results can be used to guide the spinning of defect-free CA hollow fiber membranes with desired structures and properties as carbon membrane precursors. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Membranes of Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIM-1) Modified by Poly(ethylene glycol)
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 28; doi:10.3390/membranes7020028 -
Abstract
Until now, the leading polymer of intrinsic microporosity PIM-1 has become quite famous for its high membrane permeability for many gases in gas separation, linked, however, to a rather moderate selectivity. The combination with the hydrophilic and low permeable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and
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Until now, the leading polymer of intrinsic microporosity PIM-1 has become quite famous for its high membrane permeability for many gases in gas separation, linked, however, to a rather moderate selectivity. The combination with the hydrophilic and low permeable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(ethylene oxides) (PEO) should on the one hand reduce permeability, while on the other hand enhance selectivity, especially for the polar gas CO2 by improving the hydrophilicity of the membranes. Four different paths to combine PIM-1 with PEG or poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) were studied: physically blending, quenching of polycondensation, synthesis of multiblock copolymers and synthesis of copolymers with PEO/PPO side chain. Blends and new, chemically linked polymers were successfully formed into free standing dense membranes and measured in single gas permeation of N2, O2, CO2 and CH4 by time lag method. As expected, permeability was lowered by any substantial addition of PEG/PEO/PPO regardless the manufacturing process and proportionally to the added amount. About 6 to 7 wt % of PEG/PEO/PPO added to PIM-1 halved permeability compared to PIM-1 membrane prepared under similar conditions. Consequently, selectivity from single gas measurements increased up to values of about 30 for CO2/N2 gas pair, a maximum of 18 for CO2/CH4 and 3.5 for O2/N2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor for Continuous Lactic Acid Fermentation
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 26; doi:10.3390/membranes7020026 -
Abstract
Membrane bioreactor systems can enhance anaerobic lactic acid fermentation by reducing product inhibition, thus increasing productivity. In batch fermentations, the bioconversion of glucose is strongly inhibited in the presence of more than 100 g·L−1 lactic acid and is only possible when the
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Membrane bioreactor systems can enhance anaerobic lactic acid fermentation by reducing product inhibition, thus increasing productivity. In batch fermentations, the bioconversion of glucose is strongly inhibited in the presence of more than 100 g·L−1 lactic acid and is only possible when the product is simultaneously removed, which can be achieved by ceramic membrane filtration. The crossflow velocity is a more important determinant of flux than the transmembrane pressure. Therefore, to stabilize the performance of the membrane bioreactor system during continuous fermentation, the crossflow velocity was controlled by varying the biomass concentration, which was monitored in real-time using an optical sensor. Continuous fermentation under these conditions, thus, achieved a stable productivity of ~8 g·L−1·h−1 and the concentration of lactic acid was maintained at ~40 g·L−1 at a dilution rate of 0.2 h−1. No residual sugar was detected in the steady state with a feed concentration of 50 g·L−1. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Water Photo-Electrolysis
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 25; doi:10.3390/membranes7020025 -
Abstract
Water-fed photo-electrolysis cells equipped with perfluorosulfonic acid (Nafion® 115) and quaternary ammonium-based (Fumatech® FAA3) ion exchange membranes as separator for hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions were investigated. Protonic or anionic ionomer dispersions were deposited on the electrodes to extend the interface
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Water-fed photo-electrolysis cells equipped with perfluorosulfonic acid (Nafion® 115) and quaternary ammonium-based (Fumatech® FAA3) ion exchange membranes as separator for hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions were investigated. Protonic or anionic ionomer dispersions were deposited on the electrodes to extend the interface with the electrolyte. The photo-anode consisted of a large band-gap Ti-oxide semiconductor. The effect of membrane characteristics on the photo-electrochemical conversion of solar energy was investigated for photo-voltage-driven electrolysis cells. Photo-electrolysis cells were also studied for operation under electrical bias-assisted mode. The pH of the membrane/ionomer had a paramount effect on the photo-electrolytic conversion. The anionic membrane showed enhanced performance compared to the Nafion®-based cell when just TiO2 anatase was used as photo-anode. This was associated with better oxygen evolution kinetics in alkaline conditions compared to acidic environment. However, oxygen evolution kinetics in acidic conditions were significantly enhanced by using a Ti sub-oxide as surface promoter in order to facilitate the adsorption of OH species as precursors of oxygen evolution. However, the same surface promoter appeared to inhibit oxygen evolution in an alkaline environment probably as a consequence of the strong adsorption of OH species on the surface under such conditions. These results show that a proper combination of photo-anode and polymer electrolyte membrane is essential to maximize photo-electrolytic conversion. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Thermal Fluctuation on the Receptor-Mediated Adhesion of a Cell Membrane to an Elastic Substrate
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 24; doi:10.3390/membranes7020024 -
Abstract
Mechanics of the bilayer membrane play an important role in many biological and bioengineering problems such as cell–substrate and cell–nanomaterial interactions. In this work, we study the effect of thermal fluctuation and the substrate elasticity on the cell membrane–substrate adhesion. We model the
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Mechanics of the bilayer membrane play an important role in many biological and bioengineering problems such as cell–substrate and cell–nanomaterial interactions. In this work, we study the effect of thermal fluctuation and the substrate elasticity on the cell membrane–substrate adhesion. We model the adhesion of a fluctuating membrane on an elastic substrate as a two-step reaction comprised of the out-of-plane membrane fluctuation and the receptor–ligand binding. The equilibrium closed bond ratio as a function of substrate rigidity was computed by developing a coupled Fourier space Brownian dynamics and Monte Carlo method. The simulation results show that there exists a crossover value of the substrate rigidity at which the closed bond ratio is maximal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Foulant Analysis of Three RO Membranes Used in Treating Simulated Brackish Water of the Iraqi Marshes
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 23; doi:10.3390/membranes7020023 -
Abstract
In this work, three different types of Reverse Osmosis (RO) (Thin-Film Composite (SE), Cellulose Acetate (CE), and Polyamide (AD)) were used to perform foulant analysis (autopsy) study on the deposited materials from three different simulated brackish surface feed waters. The brackish surface water
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In this work, three different types of Reverse Osmosis (RO) (Thin-Film Composite (SE), Cellulose Acetate (CE), and Polyamide (AD)) were used to perform foulant analysis (autopsy) study on the deposited materials from three different simulated brackish surface feed waters. The brackish surface water qualities represented the water quality in Iraqi marshes. The main foulants from the simulated feed waters were characterized by using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS) spectra. The effect of feed water temperatures (37 °C and 11 °C) on the formation of the fouled material deposited on the membrane surface was examined in this study. Also, pretreatment by a 0.1 micron microfiltration (MF) membrane of the simulated feed water in advance of the RO membrane on the precipitated material on the membrane surface was investigated. Finally, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis was used to identify the functional groups of the organic matter deposited on the RO membrane surfaces. The SEM images and EDSX spectra suggested that the fouled material was mainly organic matter, and the major crystal deposited on the RO membrane was calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The FTIR spectra of the fouled RO membranes suggested that the constituents of the fouled material included aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Descriptive Analysis of LAP1 Distribution and That of Associated Proteins throughout Spermatogenesis
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 22; doi:10.3390/membranes7020022 -
Abstract
Spermatogenesis comprises highly complex differentiation processes. Nuclear envelope (NE) proteins have been associated with these processes, including lamins, lamina-associated polypeptide (LAP) 2 and the lamin B-receptor. LAP1 is an important NE protein whose function has not been fully elucidated, but several binding partners
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Spermatogenesis comprises highly complex differentiation processes. Nuclear envelope (NE) proteins have been associated with these processes, including lamins, lamina-associated polypeptide (LAP) 2 and the lamin B-receptor. LAP1 is an important NE protein whose function has not been fully elucidated, but several binding partners allow predicting putative LAP1 functions. To date, LAP1 had not been associated with spermatogenesis. In this study, LAP1 expression and cellular/subcellular localization during spermatogenesis in human and mouse testes is established for the first time. The fact that LAP1 is expressed during nuclear elongation in spermiogenesis and is located at the spermatids’ centriolar pole is singularly important. LAP1 binds to members of the protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) family. Similar localization of LAP1 and PP1γ2, a testis-specific PP1 isoform, suggests a shared function for both proteins during spermiogenesis. Furthermore, this study suggests an involvement of LAP1 in manchette development and chromatin regulation possibly via interaction with acetylated α-tubulin and lamins, respectively. Taken together, the present results indicate that, by moving to the posterior pole in spermatids, LAP1 can contribute to the achievement of non-random, sperm-specific chromatin distribution, as well as modulate cellular remodeling during spermiogenesis. In addition, LAP1 seems to be associated with dynamic microtubule changes related to manchette formation and flagella development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Phase Separation Behavior on Morphology and Performance of Polycarbonate Membranes
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 21; doi:10.3390/membranes7020021 -
Abstract
The phase separation behavior of bisphenol-A-polycarbonate (PC), dissolved in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and dichloromethane solvents in coagulant water, was studied by the cloud point method. The respective cloud point data were determined by titration against water at room temperature and the characteristic binodal curves
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The phase separation behavior of bisphenol-A-polycarbonate (PC), dissolved in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and dichloromethane solvents in coagulant water, was studied by the cloud point method. The respective cloud point data were determined by titration against water at room temperature and the characteristic binodal curves for the ternary systems were plotted. Further, the physical properties such as viscosity, refractive index, and density of the solution were measured. The critical polymer concentrations were determined from the viscosity measurements. PC/NMP and PC/DCM membranes were fabricated by the dry-wet phase inversion technique and characterized for their morphology, structure, and thermal stability using field emission scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis, respectively. The membranes’ performances were tested for their permeance to CO2, CH4, and N2 gases at 24 ± 0.5 °C with varying feed pressures from 2 to 10 bar. The PC/DCM membranes appeared to be asymmetric dense membrane types with appreciable thermal stability, whereas the PC/NMP membranes were observed to be asymmetric with porous structures exhibiting 4.18% and 9.17% decrease in the initial and maximum degradation temperatures, respectively. The ideal CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 selectivities of the PC/NMP membrane decreased with the increase in feed pressures, while for the PC/DCM membrane, the average ideal CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 selectivities were found to be 25.1 ± 0.8 and 21.1 ± 0.6, respectively. Therefore, the PC/DCM membranes with dense morphologies are appropriate for gas separation applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Performance of Hybrid Photocatalytic-Ceramic Membrane System for the Treatment of Secondary Effluent
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 20; doi:10.3390/membranes7020020 -
Abstract
Evaluation of an advanced wastewater treatment system that combines photocatalysis with ceramic membrane filtration for the treatment of secondary effluent was undertaken. The results showed that, after photocatalysis and ceramic membrane filtration, the removal of dissolved organic carbon and UV254 was 60%
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Evaluation of an advanced wastewater treatment system that combines photocatalysis with ceramic membrane filtration for the treatment of secondary effluent was undertaken. The results showed that, after photocatalysis and ceramic membrane filtration, the removal of dissolved organic carbon and UV254 was 60% and 54%, respectively, at a concentration of 4 g/L of TiO2. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) present in the secondary effluent was characterised with a liquid chromatography-organic carbon detector (LC-OCD) technique. The results showed low removal of humics, building blocks, the other oxidation by-products and no removal of biopolymers after TiO2/UV photocatalytic treatment. This suggested that the radical non-selective oxidation mechanisms of TiO2/UV process resulted in secondary effluent in which all of the DOM fractions were present. However, the hybrid system was effective for removing biopolymers with the exception of low molecular weight (LMW) compounds acids, which accumulated from the beginning of the reaction. In addition, monitoring of the DOM fractions with LC-OCD analysis demonstrated that the reduction of the effluent aromaticity was not firmly correlated with the removal of humic substances for the combined processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Apparent Interfacial Tension Effects in Protein Stabilized Emulsions Prepared with Microstructured Systems
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 19; doi:10.3390/membranes7020019 -
Abstract
Proteins are mostly used to stabilize food emulsions; however, production of protein containing emulsions is notoriously difficult to capture in scaling relations due to the complex behavior of proteins in interfaces, in combination with the dynamic nature of the emulsification process. Here, we
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Proteins are mostly used to stabilize food emulsions; however, production of protein containing emulsions is notoriously difficult to capture in scaling relations due to the complex behavior of proteins in interfaces, in combination with the dynamic nature of the emulsification process. Here, we investigate premix membrane emulsification and use the Ohnesorge number to derive a scaling relation for emulsions prepared with whey protein, bovine serum albumin (BSA), and a standard emulsifier Tween 20, at various concentrations (0.1%, 0.5%, 1.25% and 2%). In the Ohnesorge number, viscous, inertia, and interfacial tension forces are captured, and most of the parameters can be measured with great accuracy, with the exception of the interfacial tension. We used microfluidic Y-junctions to estimate the apparent interfacial tension at throughputs comparable to those in premix emulsification, and found a unifying relation. We next used this relation to plot the Ohnesorge number versus P-ratio defined as the applied pressure over the Laplace pressure of the premix droplet. The measured values all showed a decreasing Ohnesorge number at increasing P-ratio; the differences between regular surfactants and proteins being systematic. The surfactants were more efficient in droplet size reduction, and it is expected that the differences were caused by the complex behavior of proteins in the interface (visco-elastic film formation). The differences between BSA and whey protein were relatively small, and their behavior coincided with that of low Tween concentration (0.1%), which deviated from the behavior at higher concentrations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Impact of Coagulant and Flocculant Addition to an Anaerobic Dynamic Membrane Bioreactor (AnDMBR) Treating Waste-Activated Sludge
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 18; doi:10.3390/membranes7020018 -
Abstract
In this work, we investigated the effects of flocculation aid (FA) addition to an anaerobic dynamic membrane bioreactor (AnDMBR) (7 L, 35 °C) treating waste-activated sludge (WAS). The experiment consisted of three distinct periods. In period 1 (day 1–86), the reactor was operated
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In this work, we investigated the effects of flocculation aid (FA) addition to an anaerobic dynamic membrane bioreactor (AnDMBR) (7 L, 35 °C) treating waste-activated sludge (WAS). The experiment consisted of three distinct periods. In period 1 (day 1–86), the reactor was operated as a conventional anaerobic digester with a solids retention time (SRT) and hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 24 days. In period 2 (day 86–303), the HRT was lowered to 18 days with the application of a dynamic membrane while the SRT was kept the same. In period 3 (day 303–386), a cationic FA in combination with FeCl3 was added. The additions led to a lower viscosity, which was expected to lead to an increased digestion performance. However, the FAs caused irreversible binding of the substrate, lowering the volatile solids destruction from 32% in period 2 to 24% in period 3. An accumulation of small particulates was observed in the sludge, lowering the average particle size by 50%. These particulates likely caused pore blocking in the cake layer, doubling the trans-membrane pressure. The methanogenic consortia were unaffected. Dosing coagulants and flocculants into an AnDMBR treating sludge leads to a decreased cake layer permeability and decreased sludge degradation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Glycerol Production and Transformation: A Critical Review with Particular Emphasis on Glycerol Reforming Reaction for Producing Hydrogen in Conventional and Membrane Reactors
Membranes 2017, 7(2), 17; doi:10.3390/membranes7020017 -
Abstract
Glycerol represents an emerging renewable bio-derived feedstock, which could be used as a source for producing hydrogen through steam reforming reaction. In this review, the state-of-the-art about glycerol production processes is reviewed, with particular focus on glycerol reforming reactions and on the main
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Glycerol represents an emerging renewable bio-derived feedstock, which could be used as a source for producing hydrogen through steam reforming reaction. In this review, the state-of-the-art about glycerol production processes is reviewed, with particular focus on glycerol reforming reactions and on the main catalysts under development. Furthermore, the use of membrane catalytic reactors instead of conventional reactors for steam reforming is discussed. Finally, the review describes the utilization of the Pd-based membrane reactor technology, pointing out the ability of these alternative fuel processors to simultaneously extract high purity hydrogen and enhance the whole performances of the reaction system in terms of glycerol conversion and hydrogen yield. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Fabrication and Water Treatment Application of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)-Based Composite Membranes: A Review
Membranes 2017, 7(1), 16; doi:10.3390/membranes7010016 -
Abstract
Membrane separation technology is widely explored for various applications, such as water desalination and wastewater treatment, which can alleviate the global issue of fresh water scarcity. Specifically, carbon nanotubes (CNTs)-based composite membranes are increasingly of interest due to the combined merits of CNTs
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Membrane separation technology is widely explored for various applications, such as water desalination and wastewater treatment, which can alleviate the global issue of fresh water scarcity. Specifically, carbon nanotubes (CNTs)-based composite membranes are increasingly of interest due to the combined merits of CNTs and membrane separation, offering enhanced membrane properties. This article first briefly discusses fabrication and growth mechanisms, characterization and functionalization techniques of CNTs, and then reviews the fabrication methods for CNTs-based composite membranes in detail. The applications of CNTs-based composite membranes in water treatment are comprehensively reviewed, including seawater or brine desalination, oil-water separation, removal of heavy metal ions and emerging pollutants as well as membrane separation coupled with assistant techniques. Furthermore, the future direction and perspective for CNTs-based composite membranes are also briefly outlined. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Single Lipid Molecule Dynamics on Supported Lipid Bilayers with Membrane Curvature
Membranes 2017, 7(1), 15; doi:10.3390/membranes7010015 -
Abstract
The plasma membrane is a highly compartmentalized, dynamic material and this organization is essential for a wide variety of cellular processes. Nanoscale domains allow proteins to organize for cell signaling, endo- and exocytosis, and other essential processes. Even in the absence of proteins,
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The plasma membrane is a highly compartmentalized, dynamic material and this organization is essential for a wide variety of cellular processes. Nanoscale domains allow proteins to organize for cell signaling, endo- and exocytosis, and other essential processes. Even in the absence of proteins, lipids have the ability to organize into domains as a result of a variety of chemical and physical interactions. One feature of membranes that affects lipid domain formation is membrane curvature. To directly test the role of curvature in lipid sorting, we measured the accumulation of two similar lipids, 1,2-Dihexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DHPE) and hexadecanoic acid (HDA), using a supported lipid bilayer that was assembled over a nanopatterned surface to obtain regions of membrane curvature. Both lipids studied contain 16 carbon, saturated tails and a head group tag for fluorescence microscopy measurements. The accumulation of lipids at curvatures ranging from 28 nm to 55 nm radii was measured and fluorescein labeled DHPE accumulated more than fluorescein labeled HDA at regions of membrane curvature. We then tested whether single biotinylated DHPE molecules sense curvature using single particle tracking methods. Similar to groups of fluorescein labeled DHPE accumulating at curvature, the dynamics of single molecules of biotinylated DHPE was also affected by membrane curvature and highly confined motion was observed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of Carbon Nanotube/Polysulfone (CNT/Psf) Composite Membranes during Oil–Water Mixture Separation: Effect of CNT Dispersion Method
Membranes 2017, 7(1), 14; doi:10.3390/membranes7010014 -
Abstract
Effect of the dispersion method employed during the synthesis of carbon nanotube (CNT)/polysulfone-infused composite membranes on the quality and separation performance of the membranes during oil–water mixture separation is demonstrated. Carbon nanotube/polysulfone composite membranes containing 5% CNT and pure polysulfone membrane (with 0%
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Effect of the dispersion method employed during the synthesis of carbon nanotube (CNT)/polysulfone-infused composite membranes on the quality and separation performance of the membranes during oil–water mixture separation is demonstrated. Carbon nanotube/polysulfone composite membranes containing 5% CNT and pure polysulfone membrane (with 0% CNT) were synthesized using phase inversion. Three CNT dispersion methods referred to as Method 1 (M1), Method 2 (M2), and Method 3 (M3) were used to disperse the CNTs. Morphology and surface property of the synthesized membranes were checked with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, respectively. Separation performance of the membranes was evaluated by applying the membrane to the separation of oil–water emulsion using a cross-flow filtration setup. The functional groups obtained from the FTIR spectra for the membranes and the CNTs included carboxylic acid groups (O–H) and carbonyl group (C=O) which are responsible for the hydrophilic properties of the membranes. The contact angles for the membranes obtained from Method 1, Method 2, and Method 3 were 76.6° ± 5.0°, 77.9° ± 1.3°, and 77.3° ± 4.5°, respectively, and 88.1° ± 2.1° was obtained for the pure polysulfone membrane. The oil rejection (OR) for the synthesized composite membranes from Method 1, Method 2, and Method 3 were 48.71%, 65.86%, and 99.88%, respectively, indicating that Method 3 resulted in membrane of the best quality and separation performance. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Membranes with Surface-Enhanced Antifouling Properties for Water Purification
Membranes 2017, 7(1), 13; doi:10.3390/membranes7010013 -
Abstract
Membrane technology has emerged as an attractive approach for water purification, while mitigation of fouling is key to lower membrane operating costs. This article reviews various materials with antifouling properties that can be coated or grafted onto the membrane surface to improve the
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Membrane technology has emerged as an attractive approach for water purification, while mitigation of fouling is key to lower membrane operating costs. This article reviews various materials with antifouling properties that can be coated or grafted onto the membrane surface to improve the antifouling properties of the membranes and thus, retain high water permeance. These materials can be separated into three categories, hydrophilic materials, such as poly(ethylene glycol), polydopamine and zwitterions, hydrophobic materials, such as fluoropolymers, and amphiphilic materials. The states of water in these materials and the mechanisms for the antifouling properties are discussed. The corresponding approaches to coat or graft these materials on the membrane surface are reviewed, and the materials with promising performance are highlighted. Full article
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