Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Comprehensive Tensile Relationship in Electrospun Silk Fibroin/Polycaprolactone Nanofiber Membranes
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 67; doi:10.3390/membranes7040067 -
Abstract
The mechanical properties of electrospun nanofiber membranes are critical for their applications. A clear understanding of the mechanical properties that result from the characteristics of the individual fiber and membrane microstructure is vital in the design of fiber composites. In this reported study,
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The mechanical properties of electrospun nanofiber membranes are critical for their applications. A clear understanding of the mechanical properties that result from the characteristics of the individual fiber and membrane microstructure is vital in the design of fiber composites. In this reported study, silk fibroin (SF)/polycaprolactone (PCL) composite nanofiber membranes were preparedusing an electrostatic spinning technology. The nanofiber orientation distribution (FOD) of the membrane was analyzed using multi-layer image fusion technology, and the results indicated the presence of an approximately uniform distribution of fibers in the electrospun membranes. The relationship between the single nanofiber and the membrane was established by analyzing the geometrical structure of the cell by employing a representative volume element (RVE) analysis method. The mechanical properties of the 272 nm diameter SF/PCL composite fibers were then predicted using the developed model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photoactive Gel for Assisted Cleaning during Olive Mill Wastewater Membrane Microfiltration
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 66; doi:10.3390/membranes7040066 -
Abstract
A photoactive gel has been fabricated on the surface of polyethylene membranes for enhancing the fouling resistance during olive mill wastewater treatment. Light and pH responsive materials have been introduced in the membrane surface through the build up of a layer-by-layer pattern, which
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A photoactive gel has been fabricated on the surface of polyethylene membranes for enhancing the fouling resistance during olive mill wastewater treatment. Light and pH responsive materials have been introduced in the membrane surface through the build up of a layer-by-layer pattern, which is formed by photocatalytic nanoparticles and ionic polyelectrolytes. The best working conditions to contrast foulants adsorption have been explored and identified. Repulsive interfacial forces and assisted transfer of foulants to catalytic sites have been envisaged as crucial factors for contrasting the decline of the flux during microfiltration. Tests in submerged configuration have been implemented for six continuous hours under irradiation at two different pH conditions. As a result, a worthy efficiency of the photoactive gel has been reached when suitable chemical microenvironments have been generated along the shell side of the membranes. No additional chemical reagents or expensive back-flushing procedures have been necessary to further clean the membranes; rather, fast and reversible pH switches have been enough to remove residues, thereby preserving the integrity of the layer-by-layer (LBL) complex onto the membrane surface. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modification of the Selectivity Properties of Tubular Ceramic Membranes after Alkaline Treatment
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 65; doi:10.3390/membranes7040065 -
Abstract
This work focuses on the selectivity modification of ceramic membranes after a mild alkaline treatment. Filtration of pure salt-water solutions was carried out with commercial titania membranes before and after the treatment. After treatment, the rejection of NaF significantly decreased, while the rejection
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This work focuses on the selectivity modification of ceramic membranes after a mild alkaline treatment. Filtration of pure salt-water solutions was carried out with commercial titania membranes before and after the treatment. After treatment, the rejection of NaF significantly decreased, while the rejection of NaCl and NaBr increased. Additionally, NaI and Na2SO4 remained close to zero. Pore size and electrical charge being almost unchanged, only significant modifications in the dielectric effects can explain this modification of selectivity. Therefore, the surface chemistry and the interaction (nature and magnitude) with the solvent and with the species present in the solution appear to be modified by the alkaline treatment. This trend is also illustrated by discussing the electric and the dielectric properties that were numerically identified before and after treatment. The alkaline treatment significantly decreased the apparent dielectric constant of NaCl-water solution in the pore, highlighting the rejection of sodium chloride. Contrariwise, the modification of the surface chemistry increased the apparent dielectric constant of NaF-water solution by promoting fluoride transmission. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization and Antibiofouling Performance Investigation of Hydrophobic Silver Nanocomposite Membranes: A Comparative Study
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 64; doi:10.3390/membranes7040064 -
Abstract
Biofouling is one of the drawbacks restricting the industrial applications of membranes. In this study, different thicknesses of silver nanoparticles with proper adhesion were deposited on poly(vinylidenefluoride) (PVDF) and polyethersulfone (PES) surfaces by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The crystalline and structural properties of
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Biofouling is one of the drawbacks restricting the industrial applications of membranes. In this study, different thicknesses of silver nanoparticles with proper adhesion were deposited on poly(vinylidenefluoride) (PVDF) and polyethersulfone (PES) surfaces by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The crystalline and structural properties of modified and pure membranes were investigated by carrying out X-ray diffraction (XRD) and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analyses were employed to examine the surface morphology and the bacteria anti-adhesion property of the membranes. The morphology measurements confirmed that even though after silver grafting the surface became more hydrophobic, the homogeneity increased and the flux reduction decreased after coating. Moreover a comparison between PVDF and PES revealed that CFU (colony forming units) reduced 64.5% on PVDF surface and 31.1% on PES surface after modification. In conclusion, PVD improved the performance of the membrane antibiofouling, and it is more promising to be used for PVDF rather than PES. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Bibliometric Analysis of Research on Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes during the 1995–2015 Period: Study of the Main Applications and Trending Topics
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 63; doi:10.3390/membranes7040063 -
Abstract
A bibliometric analysis based on Scopus database was performed to identify the global research trends related to Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes (SILMs) during the time period from 1995 to 2015. This work tries to improve the understanding of the most relevant research topics
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A bibliometric analysis based on Scopus database was performed to identify the global research trends related to Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes (SILMs) during the time period from 1995 to 2015. This work tries to improve the understanding of the most relevant research topics and applications. The results from the analysis reveal that only after 2005 the research efforts focused on SILMs became significant, since the references found before that year are scarce. The most important research works on the four main application groups for SILMs defined in this work (carbon dioxide separation, other gas phase separations, pervaporation and liquid phase separations) were summarized in this paper. Carbon dioxide separation appeared as the application that has received by far the most attention according to the research trends during the analysed period. Comments about other significant applications that are gaining attention, such as the employment of SILMs in analytical tasks or their consideration for the production of fuel cells, have been included. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Short Review on Predicting Fouling in RO Desalination
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 62; doi:10.3390/membranes7040062 -
Abstract
Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane fouling is one of the main challenges that membrane manufactures, the scientific community and industry professionals have to deal with. The consequences of this inevitable phenomenon have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination system. Predicting fouling
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Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane fouling is one of the main challenges that membrane manufactures, the scientific community and industry professionals have to deal with. The consequences of this inevitable phenomenon have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination system. Predicting fouling in RO systems is key to evaluating the long-term operating conditions and costs. Much research has been done on fouling indices, methods, techniques and prediction models to estimate the influence of fouling on the performance of RO systems. This paper offers a short review evaluating the state of industry knowledge in the development of fouling indices and models in membrane systems for desalination in terms of use and applicability. Despite major efforts in this field, there are gaps in terms of effective methods and models for the estimation of fouling in full-scale RO desalination plants. In existing models applied to full-scale RO desalination plants, neither the spacer geometry of membranes, nor the efficiency and frequency of chemical cleanings are considered. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
CO2 Permeability of Biological Membranes and Role of CO2 Channels
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 61; doi:10.3390/membranes7040061 -
Abstract
We summarize here, mainly for mammalian systems, the present knowledge of (a) the membrane CO2 permeabilities in various tissues; (b) the physiological significance of the value of the CO2 permeability; (c) the mechanisms by which membrane CO2 permeability is modulated;
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We summarize here, mainly for mammalian systems, the present knowledge of (a) the membrane CO2 permeabilities in various tissues; (b) the physiological significance of the value of the CO2 permeability; (c) the mechanisms by which membrane CO2 permeability is modulated; (d) the role of the intracellular diffusivity of CO2 for the quantitative significance of cell membrane CO2 permeability; (e) the available evidence for the existence of CO2 channels in mammalian and artificial systems, with a brief view on CO2 channels in fishes and plants; and, (f) the possible significance of CO2 channels in mammalian systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Revealing the Effects of Nanoscale Membrane Curvature on Lipid Mobility
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 60; doi:10.3390/membranes7040060 -
Abstract
Recent advances in nanoengineering and super-resolution microscopy have enabled new capabilities for creating and observing membrane curvature. However, the effects of curvature on single-lipid diffusion have yet to be revealed. The simulations presented here describe the capabilities of varying experimental methods for revealing
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Recent advances in nanoengineering and super-resolution microscopy have enabled new capabilities for creating and observing membrane curvature. However, the effects of curvature on single-lipid diffusion have yet to be revealed. The simulations presented here describe the capabilities of varying experimental methods for revealing the effects of nanoscale curvature on single-molecule mobility. Traditionally, lipid mobility is revealed through fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), and single particle tracking (SPT). However, these techniques vary greatly in their ability to detect the effects of nanoscale curvature on lipid behavior. Traditionally, FRAP and FCS depend on diffraction-limited illumination and detection. A simulation of FRAP shows minimal effects on lipids diffusion due to a 50 nm radius membrane bud. Throughout the stages of the budding process, FRAP detected minimal changes in lipid recovery time due to the curvature versus flat membrane. Simulated FCS demonstrated small effects due to a 50 nm radius membrane bud that was more apparent with curvature-dependent lipid mobility changes. However, SPT achieves a sub-diffraction-limited resolution of membrane budding and lipid mobility through the identification of the single-lipid positions with ≤15 nm spatial and ≤20 ms temporal resolution. By mapping the single-lipid step lengths to locations on the membrane, the effects of membrane topography and curvature could be correlated to the effective membrane viscosity. Single-fluorophore localization techniques, such SPT, can detect membrane curvature and its effects on lipid behavior. These simulations and discussion provide a guideline for optimizing the experimental procedures in revealing the effects of curvature on lipid mobility and effective local membrane viscosity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterizing the Performance of Gas-Permeable Membranes as an Ammonia Recovery Strategy from Anaerobically Digested Dairy Manure
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 59; doi:10.3390/membranes7040059 -
Abstract
Capturing ammonia from anaerobically digested manure could simultaneously decrease the adverse effects of ammonia inhibition on biogas production, reduce reactive nitrogen (N) loss to the environment, and produce mineral N fertilizer as a by-product. In this study, gas permeable membranes (GPM) were used
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Capturing ammonia from anaerobically digested manure could simultaneously decrease the adverse effects of ammonia inhibition on biogas production, reduce reactive nitrogen (N) loss to the environment, and produce mineral N fertilizer as a by-product. In this study, gas permeable membranes (GPM) were used to capture ammonia from dairy manure and digestate by the diffusion of gaseous ammonia across the membrane where ammonia is captured by diluted acid, forming an aqueous ammonium salt. A lab-scale prototype using tubular expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) GPM was used to (1) characterize the effect of total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) concentration, temperature, and pH on the ammonia capture rate using GPM, and (2) to evaluate the performance of a GPM system in conditions similar to a mesophilic anaerobic digester. The GPM captured ammonia at a rate between 2.2 to 6.3% of gaseous ammonia in the donor solution per day. Capture rate was faster in anaerobic digestate than raw manure. The ammonia capture rate could be predicted using non-linear regression based on the factors of total ammonium nitrogen concentration, temperature, and pH. This use of membranes shows promise in reducing the deleterious impacts of ammonia on both the efficiency of biogas production and the release of reactive N to the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of the Simplification of the Pressure Profiles Solving the Binary Friction Model for Asymmetric Membranes
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 58; doi:10.3390/membranes7040058 -
Abstract
The gas flow through porous media including that of multiple species is frequently described by the binary friction model (BFM) considering the binary diffusion, Knudsen diffusion, and viscous flow. Therefore, a numerical simulation was performed on a microporous support of an asymmetric oxygen
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The gas flow through porous media including that of multiple species is frequently described by the binary friction model (BFM) considering the binary diffusion, Knudsen diffusion, and viscous flow. Therefore, a numerical simulation was performed on a microporous support of an asymmetric oxygen transport membrane. As its exact numerical solution is complicated and not always possible, the results of two different levels of simplification of the pressure profiles within the porous support are compared to the exact numerical solution. The simplification using a constant pressure equal to the gas pressure outside the support leads to a deviation by up to 0.45 mL·min−1·cm−2 from the exact solution under certain operating condition. A different simplification using a constant pressure averaged between the outside of the support and the support/membrane interface reduces this deviation to zero. Therefore, this is a useful measure to reduce computational efforts when implementing the Binary Friction Model in computational fluid dynamics simulations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
PES-Kaolin Mixed Matrix Membranes for Arsenic Removal from Water
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 57; doi:10.3390/membranes7040057 -
Abstract
The aim of this work was the fabrication and the characterization of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) for arsenic (As) removal from water. Membrane separation was combined with an adsorption process by incorporating the kaolin (KT2) Algerian natural clay in polymeric membranes. The effects
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The aim of this work was the fabrication and the characterization of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) for arsenic (As) removal from water. Membrane separation was combined with an adsorption process by incorporating the kaolin (KT2) Algerian natural clay in polymeric membranes. The effects of casting solution composition was explored using different amounts of polyethersufone (PES) as a polymer, polyvinyl-pyrrolidone (PVP K17) and polyethylene glycol (PEG 200) as pore former agents, N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) as a solvent, and kaolin. Membranes were prepared by coupling Non-solvent Induced Phase Separation and Vapour Induced Phase Separation (NIPS and VIPS, respectively). The influence of the exposure time to controlled humid air and temperature was also investigated. The MMMs obtained were characterized in terms of morphology, pore size, porosity, thickness, contact angle and pure water permeability. Adsorption membrane-based tests were carried out in order to assess the applicability of the membranes produced for As removal from contaminated water. Among the investigated kaolin concentrations (ranging from 0 wt % to 5 wt %), a content of 1.25 wt % led to the MMM with the most promising performance. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Membrane Distillation of Meat Industry Effluent with Hydrophilic Polyurethane Coated Polytetrafluoroethylene Membranes
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 55; doi:10.3390/membranes7040055 -
Abstract
Meat rendering operations produce stick water waste which is rich in proteins, fats, and minerals. Membrane distillation (MD) may further recover water and valuable solids, but hydrophobic membranes are contaminated by the fats. Here, commercial hydrophobic polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) membranes with a hydrophilic polyurethane
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Meat rendering operations produce stick water waste which is rich in proteins, fats, and minerals. Membrane distillation (MD) may further recover water and valuable solids, but hydrophobic membranes are contaminated by the fats. Here, commercial hydrophobic polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) membranes with a hydrophilic polyurethane surface layer (PU-PTFE) are used for the first time for direct contact MD (DCMD) on real poultry, fish, and bovine stick waters. Metal membrane microfiltration (MMF) was also used to capture fats prior to MD. Although the standard hydrophobic PTFE membranes failed rapidly, PU-PTFE membranes effectively processed all stick water samples to colourless permeate with sodium rejections >99%. Initial clean solution fluxes 5–6 L/m2/h declined to less than half during short 40% water recovery tests for all stick water samples. Fish stick water uniquely showed reduced fouling and up to 78% water recovery. Lost flux was easily restored by rinsing the membrane with clean water. MMF prior to MD removed 92% of fats, facilitating superior MD performance. Differences in fouling between stick waters were attributed to temperature polarisation from higher melt temperature fats and relative proportions to proteins. Hydrophilic coated MD membranes are applicable to stick water processing but further studies should consider membrane cleaning and longer-term stability. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
A Comprehensive Review of Our Current Understanding of Red Blood Cell (RBC) Glycoproteins
Membranes 2017, 7(4), 56; doi:10.3390/membranes7040056 -
Abstract
Human red blood cells (RBC), which are the cells most commonly used in the study of biological membranes, have some glycoproteins in their cell membrane. These membrane proteins are band 3 and glycophorins A–D, and some substoichiometric glycoproteins (e.g., CD44, CD47, Lu, Kell,
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Human red blood cells (RBC), which are the cells most commonly used in the study of biological membranes, have some glycoproteins in their cell membrane. These membrane proteins are band 3 and glycophorins A–D, and some substoichiometric glycoproteins (e.g., CD44, CD47, Lu, Kell, Duffy). The oligosaccharide that band 3 contains has one N-linked oligosaccharide, and glycophorins possess mostly O-linked oligosaccharides. The end of the O-linked oligosaccharide is linked to sialic acid. In humans, this sialic acid is N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc). Another sialic acid, N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc) is present in red blood cells of non-human origin. While the biological function of band 3 is well known as an anion exchanger, it has been suggested that the oligosaccharide of band 3 does not affect the anion transport function. Although band 3 has been studied in detail, the physiological functions of glycophorins remain unclear. This review mainly describes the sialo-oligosaccharide structures of band 3 and glycophorins, followed by a discussion of the physiological functions that have been reported in the literature to date. Moreover, other glycoproteins in red blood cell membranes of non-human origin are described, and the physiological function of glycophorin in carp red blood cell membranes is discussed with respect to its bacteriostatic activity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Ion Exchange Membranes in Membrane Capacitive Deionisation
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 54; doi:10.3390/membranes7030054 -
Abstract
Ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) are unique in combining the electrochemical properties of ion exchange resins and the permeability of a membrane. They are being used widely to treat industrial effluents, and in seawater and brackish water desalination. Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is an emerging,
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Ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) are unique in combining the electrochemical properties of ion exchange resins and the permeability of a membrane. They are being used widely to treat industrial effluents, and in seawater and brackish water desalination. Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is an emerging, energy efficient technology for brackish water desalination in which these ion-exchange membranes act as selective gates allowing the transport of counter-ions toward carbon electrodes. This article provides a summary of recent developments in the preparation, characterization, and performance of ion exchange membranes in the MCDI field. In some parts of this review, the most relevant literature in the area of electrodialysis (ED) is also discussed to better elucidate the role of the ion exchange membranes. We conclude that more work is required to better define the desalination performance of the proposed novel materials and cell designs for MCDI in treating a wide range of feed waters. The extent of fouling, the development of cleaning strategies, and further techno-economic studies, will add value to this emerging technique. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Developments of Graphene Oxide-Based Membranes: A Review
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 52; doi:10.3390/membranes7030052 -
Abstract
Membrane-based separation technology has attracted great interest in many separation fields due to its advantages of easy-operation, energy-efficiency, easy scale-up, and environmental friendliness. The development of novel membrane materials and membrane structures is an urgent demand to promote membrane-based separation technology. Graphene oxide
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Membrane-based separation technology has attracted great interest in many separation fields due to its advantages of easy-operation, energy-efficiency, easy scale-up, and environmental friendliness. The development of novel membrane materials and membrane structures is an urgent demand to promote membrane-based separation technology. Graphene oxide (GO), as an emerging star nano-building material, has showed great potential in the membrane-based separation field. In this review paper, the latest research progress in GO-based membranes focused on adjusting membrane structure and enhancing their mechanical strength as well as structural stability in aqueous environment is highlighted and discussed in detail. First, we briefly reviewed the preparation and characterization of GO. Then, the preparation method, characterization, and type of GO-based membrane are summarized. Finally, the advancements of GO-based membrane in adjusting membrane structure and enhancing their mechanical strength, as well as structural stability in aqueous environment, are particularly discussed. This review hopefully provides a new avenue for the innovative developments of GO-based membrane in various membrane applications. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Polymeric Nanocomposite Membranes for Next Generation Pervaporation Process: Strategies, Challenges and Future Prospects
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 53; doi:10.3390/membranes7030053 -
Abstract
Pervaporation (PV) has been considered as one of the most active and promising areas in membrane technologies in separating close boiling or azeotropic liquid mixtures, heat sensitive biomaterials, water or organics from its mixtures that are indispensable constituents for various important chemical and
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Pervaporation (PV) has been considered as one of the most active and promising areas in membrane technologies in separating close boiling or azeotropic liquid mixtures, heat sensitive biomaterials, water or organics from its mixtures that are indispensable constituents for various important chemical and bio-separations. In the PV process, the membrane plays the most pivotal role and is of paramount importance in governing the overall efficiency. This article evaluates and collaborates the current research towards the development of next generation nanomaterials (NMs) and embedded polymeric membranes with regard to its synthesis, fabrication and application strategies, challenges and future prospects. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Perfluorinated Compounds as Test Media for Porous Membranes
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 51; doi:10.3390/membranes7030051 -
Abstract
We suggest a failure-free method of porous membranes characterization that gives the researcher the opportunity to compare and characterize properties of any porous membrane. This proposal is supported by an investigation of eight membranes made of different organic and inorganic materials, with nine
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We suggest a failure-free method of porous membranes characterization that gives the researcher the opportunity to compare and characterize properties of any porous membrane. This proposal is supported by an investigation of eight membranes made of different organic and inorganic materials, with nine different perfluorinated compounds. It was found that aromatic compounds, perfluorobenzene, and perfluorotoluene, used in the current study show properties different from other perfluorinated aliphatics. They demonstrate extreme deviation from the general sequence indicating the existence of π-π-interaction on the pore wall. The divergence of the flow for cyclic compounds from ideal e.g., linear compounds can be an indication of the pore dimension. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
The Effect of Concentration Factor on Membrane Fouling
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 50; doi:10.3390/membranes7030050 -
Abstract
Bench-scale systems are often used to evaluate pretreatment methods and operational conditions that can be applied in full-scale ultrafiltration (UF) systems. However, the membrane packing density is substantially different in bench and full-scale systems. Differences in concentration factor (CF) at the solution–membrane interface
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Bench-scale systems are often used to evaluate pretreatment methods and operational conditions that can be applied in full-scale ultrafiltration (UF) systems. However, the membrane packing density is substantially different in bench and full-scale systems. Differences in concentration factor (CF) at the solution–membrane interface as a result of packing density may impact the mass transfer and fouling rate and the applicability of bench-scale systems. The present study compared membrane resistance when considering raw water (CF = 1) and reject water (also commonly referred to as concentrate water) (CF > 1) as feed in UF systems operated in deposition (dead-end) mode. A positive relationship was observed between the concentration of the organic matter in the solution being filtered and resistance. Bench-scale trials conducted with CF = 1 water were more representative of full-scale operation than trials conducted with elevated CFs when considering membrane resistance and permeate quality. As such, the results of this study indicate that the use of the same feed water as used at full-scale (CF = 1) is appropriate to evaluate fouling in UF systems operated in deposition mode. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Membrane-Accelerated Amyloid-β Aggregation and Formation of Cross-β Sheets
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 49; doi:10.3390/membranes7030049 -
Abstract
Amyloid-β aggregates play a causative role in Alzheimer’s disease. These aggregates are a product of the physical environment provided by the basic neuronal membrane, composed of a lipid bilayer. The intrinsic properties of the lipid bilayer allow amyloid-β peptides to nucleate
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Amyloid-β aggregates play a causative role in Alzheimer’s disease. These aggregates are a product of the physical environment provided by the basic neuronal membrane, composed of a lipid bilayer. The intrinsic properties of the lipid bilayer allow amyloid-β peptides to nucleate and form well-ordered cross-β sheets within the membrane. Here, we correlate the aggregation of the hydrophobic fragment of the amyloid-β protein, Aβ25-35, with the hydrophobicity, fluidity, and charge density of a lipid bilayer. We summarize recent biophysical studies of model membranes and relate these to the process of aggregation in physiological systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Design Optimization of Multifunctional Membrane Reactors for Direct Methane Aromatization
Membranes 2017, 7(3), 48; doi:10.3390/membranes7030048 -
Abstract
Due to the recent increase of natural gas production in the U.S., utilizing natural gas for higher-value chemicals has become imperative. Direct methane aromatization (DMA) is a promising process used to convert methane to benzene, but it is limited by low conversion of
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Due to the recent increase of natural gas production in the U.S., utilizing natural gas for higher-value chemicals has become imperative. Direct methane aromatization (DMA) is a promising process used to convert methane to benzene, but it is limited by low conversion of methane and rapid catalyst deactivation by coking. Past work has shown that membrane separation of the hydrogen produced in the DMA reactions can dramatically increase the methane conversion by shifting the equilibrium toward the products, but it also increases coke production. Oxygen introduction into the system has been shown to inhibit this coke production while not inhibiting the benzene production. This paper introduces a novel mathematical model and design to employ both methods in a multifunctional membrane reactor to push the DMA process into further viability. Multifunctional membrane reactors, in this case, are reactors where two different separations occur using two differently selective membranes, on which no systems studies have been found. The proposed multifunctional membrane design incorporates a hydrogen-selective membrane on the outer wall of the reaction zone, and an inner tube filled with airflow surrounded by an oxygen-selective membrane in the middle of the reactor. The design is shown to increase conversion via hydrogen removal by around 100%, and decrease coke production via oxygen addition by 10% when compared to a tubular reactor without any membranes. Optimization studies are performed to determine the best reactor design based on methane conversion, along with coke and benzene production. The obtained optimal design considers a small reactor (length = 25 cm, diameter of reaction tube = 0.7 cm) to subvert coke production and consumption of the product benzene as well as a high permeance (0.01 mol/s·m2·atm1/4) through the hydrogen-permeable membrane. This modeling and design approach sets the stage for guiding further development of multifunctional membrane reactor models and designs for natural gas utilization and other chemical reaction systems. Full article
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