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Open AccessArticle

Wetting Resistance of Commercial Membrane Distillation Membranes in Waste Streams Containing Surfactants and Oil

VITO—Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium
Department of Chemical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Chemical Engineering, Cluster Sustainable Chemical Process Technology, KU Leuven, Gebroeders Desmetstraat 1, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Enrico Drioli
Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 118;
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 7 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Distillation)
Water management is becoming increasingly challenging and several technologies, including membrane distillation (MD) are emerging. This technology is less affected by salinity compared to reverse osmosis and is able to treat brines up to saturation. The focus of MD research recently shifted from seawater desalination to industrial applications out of the scope of reverse osmosis. In many of these applications, surfactants or oil traces are present in the feed stream, lowering the surface tension and increasing the risk for membrane wetting. In this study, the technological boundaries of MD in the presence of surfactants are investigated using surface tension, contact angle and liquid entry pressure measurements together with lab-scale MD experiments to predict the wetting resistance of different membranes. Synthetic NaCl solutions mixed with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) were used as feed solution. The limiting surfactant concentration was found to be dependent on the surface chemistry of the membrane, and increased with increasing hydrophobicity and oleophobicity. Additionally, a hexadecane/SDS emulsion was prepared with a composition simulating produced water, a waste stream in the oil and gas sector. When hexadecane is present in the emulsion, oleophobic membranes are able to resist wetting, whereas polytetrafluoretheen (PTFE) is gradually wetted by the feed liquid. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane distillation; wetting; sodium dodecyl sulfate; hexadecane membrane distillation; wetting; sodium dodecyl sulfate; hexadecane
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MDPI and ACS Style

Eykens, L.; De Sitter, K.; Dotremont, C.; De Schepper, W.; Pinoy, L.; Van Der Bruggen, B. Wetting Resistance of Commercial Membrane Distillation Membranes in Waste Streams Containing Surfactants and Oil. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 118.

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