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Membranes, Volume 14, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 18 articles

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10 pages, 610 KiB  
Review
Electrophysiological Insights into Antibiotic Translocation and Resistance: The Impact of Outer Membrane Proteins
by Ishan Ghai
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070161 - 20 Jul 2024
Viewed by 275
Abstract
The alarming rise of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria has emerged as a major global health challenge. A key factor contributing to this crisis is the low permeability of the bacterial outer membrane, which acts as a barrier that prevents antibiotics from entering [...] Read more.
The alarming rise of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria has emerged as a major global health challenge. A key factor contributing to this crisis is the low permeability of the bacterial outer membrane, which acts as a barrier that prevents antibiotics from entering the cell. Protein channels embedded in this outer membrane selectively regulate the influx of hydrophilic compounds, including antibiotics. To combat antibiotic resistance, understanding the molecular mechanisms governing antibiotic permeability through bacterial membrane channels is crucial. This knowledge is key towards elucidating their roles in studing antibiotic resistance. By compiling and analysing the flux data from multiple electrophysiological reversal potential experimental studies, which involves measuring zero-current potentials and the corresponding single-channel conductance, we can calculate the flux of charged antibiotics/compounds across different Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane channels. Through this comprehensive synthesis, this review aims to advance our understanding and stimulate discussions about the physicochemical factors influencing the flux of antibiotics through bacterial membrane protein channels, ultimately enhancing our knowledge in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Membrane Composition and Structures)
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30 pages, 3847 KiB  
Review
Carbon-Based Nanocomposite Membranes for Membrane Distillation: Progress, Problems and Future Prospects
by Chhabilal Regmi, Yuwaraj K. Kshetri and S. Ranil Wickramasinghe
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070160 - 20 Jul 2024
Viewed by 191
Abstract
The development of an ideal membrane for membrane distillation (MD) is of the utmost importance. Enhancing the efficiency of MD by adding nanoparticles to or onto a membrane’s surface has drawn considerable attention from the scientific community. It is crucial to thoroughly examine [...] Read more.
The development of an ideal membrane for membrane distillation (MD) is of the utmost importance. Enhancing the efficiency of MD by adding nanoparticles to or onto a membrane’s surface has drawn considerable attention from the scientific community. It is crucial to thoroughly examine state-of-the-art nanomaterials-enabled MD membranes with desirable properties, as they greatly enhance the efficiency and reliability of the MD process. This, in turn, opens up opportunities for achieving a sustainable water–energy–environment nexus. By introducing carbon-based nanomaterials into the membrane’s structure, the membrane gains excellent separation abilities, resistance to various feed waters, and a longer lifespan. Additionally, the use of carbon-based nanomaterials in MD has led to improved membrane performance characteristics such as increased permeability and a reduced fouling propensity. These nanomaterials have also enabled novel membrane capabilities like in situ foulant degradation and localized heat generation. Therefore, this review offers an overview of how the utilization of different carbon-based nanomaterials in membrane synthesis impacts the membrane characteristics, particularly the liquid entry pressure (LEP), hydrophobicity, porosity, and membrane permeability, as well as reduced fouling, thereby advancing the MD technology for water treatment processes. Furthermore, this review also discusses the development, challenges, and research opportunities that arise from these findings. Full article
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17 pages, 6405 KiB  
Article
Cleaning of Ultrafiltration Membranes: Long-Term Treatment of Car Wash Wastewater as a Case Study
by Wirginia Tomczak, Piotr Woźniak, Marek Gryta, Joanna Grzechulska-Damszel and Monika Daniluk
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070159 - 19 Jul 2024
Viewed by 234
Abstract
Car wash wastewaters (CWWs) contain various pollutants with different contents. Hence, selecting an appropriate process for their treatment is a great challenge. Undoubtedly, the ultrafiltration (UF) process is one of the most interesting and reliable choices. Therefore, the main aim of the current [...] Read more.
Car wash wastewaters (CWWs) contain various pollutants with different contents. Hence, selecting an appropriate process for their treatment is a great challenge. Undoubtedly, the ultrafiltration (UF) process is one of the most interesting and reliable choices. Therefore, the main aim of the current study was to investigate the performance of the UF membranes used for the long-term treatment of real CWWs. For this purpose, two polyethersulfone (PES) membranes with molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) values equal to 10 and 100 kDa were applied. As expected, a significant decrease in the permeate flux during the UF run was observed. However, it was immediately demonstrated that the systematic cleaning of membranes (every day) with Insect agent (pH = 11.5) prevented a further decline in the process’s performance. In addition, this study focused on the relative flux during the process run with breaks lasting a few days when the UF installation was filled with distilled water. The results of this research indicated that aqueous media favor microorganism adherence to the surface which leads to the formation of biofilms inside processing installations. As a consequence, many attempts have been made to restore the initial membrane performance. It has been found that the application of several chemical agents is required. More precisely, the use of an Insect solution, P3 Ultrasil 11 agent, and phosphoric acid increases the relative flux to a value of 0.8. Finally, it has been indicated that the membranes used in this work are resistant to the long-term exposure to bacteria and chemical agents. However, during the separation of CWWs for the membrane with an MWCO of 10 kDa, a lesser fouling influence and higher effectiveness of cleaning were obtained. Finally, the present study demonstrates a novel analysis and innovative implications towards applying the UF process for the CWW treatment. Full article
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14 pages, 2188 KiB  
Article
Comparative Analysis of the Impact of Protein on Virus Retention for Different Virus Removal Filters
by Mohammad A. Afzal, Joshua Peles and Andrew L. Zydney
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070158 - 17 Jul 2024
Viewed by 330
Abstract
The performance of virus filters is often determined by the extent of protein fouling, which can affect both filtrate flux and virus retention. However, the mechanisms governing changes in virus retention in the presence of proteins are still not well understood. The objective [...] Read more.
The performance of virus filters is often determined by the extent of protein fouling, which can affect both filtrate flux and virus retention. However, the mechanisms governing changes in virus retention in the presence of proteins are still not well understood. The objective of this work was to examine the effect of proteins on virus retention by both asymmetric (Viresolve® NFP and Viresolve® Pro) and relatively homogeneous (Ultipor® DV20 and PegasusTM SV4) virus filtration membranes. Experiments were performed with bacteriophage ϕX174 as a model parvovirus and human serum immunoglobulin G (hIgG) as a model protein. The virus retention in 1 g/L hIgG solutions was consistently less than that in a protein-free buffer solution by between 1 to 3 logs for the different virus filters. The virus retention profiles for the two homogeneous membranes were very similar, with the virus retention being highly correlated with the extent of flux decline. Membranes prefouled with hIgG and then challenged with phages also showed much lower virus retention, demonstrating the importance of membrane fouling; the one exception was the Viresolve® Pro membrane, which showed a similar virus retention for the prefouled and pristine membranes. Experiments in which the protein was filtered after the virus challenge demonstrated that hIgG can displace previously captured viruses from within a filter. The magnitude of these effects significantly varied for the different virus filters, likely due to differences in membrane morphology, pore size distribution, and chemistry, providing important insights into the development/application of virus filtration in bioprocessing. Full article
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39 pages, 1308 KiB  
Review
Improving the Accuracy of Permeability Data to Gain Predictive Power: Assessing Sources of Variability in Assays Using Cell Monolayers
by Cristiana L. Pires and Maria João Moreno
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070157 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
The ability to predict the rate of permeation of new compounds across biological membranes is of high importance for their success as drugs, as it determines their efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and safety profile. In vitro permeability assays using Caco-2 monolayers are commonly employed to [...] Read more.
The ability to predict the rate of permeation of new compounds across biological membranes is of high importance for their success as drugs, as it determines their efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and safety profile. In vitro permeability assays using Caco-2 monolayers are commonly employed to assess permeability across the intestinal epithelium, with an extensive number of apparent permeability coefficient (Papp) values available in the literature and a significant fraction collected in databases. The compilation of these Papp values for large datasets allows for the application of artificial intelligence tools for establishing quantitative structure–permeability relationships (QSPRs) to predict the permeability of new compounds from their structural properties. One of the main challenges that hinders the development of accurate predictions is the existence of multiple Papp values for the same compound, mostly caused by differences in the experimental protocols employed. This review addresses the magnitude of the variability within and between laboratories to interpret its impact on QSPR modelling, systematically and quantitatively assessing the most common sources of variability. This review emphasizes the importance of compiling consistent Papp data and suggests strategies that may be used to obtain such data, contributing to the establishment of robust QSPRs with enhanced predictive power. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Membrane Functions)
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16 pages, 3787 KiB  
Article
Mixed-Matrix Organo–Silica–Hydrotalcite Membrane for CO2 Separation Part 2: Permeation and Selectivity Study
by Lucas Bünger, Tim Kurtz, Krassimir Garbev, Peter Stemmermann and Dieter Stapf
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070156 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 401
Abstract
This study introduces an innovative approach to designing membranes capable of separating CO2 from industrial gas streams at higher temperatures. The novel membrane design seeks to leverage a well-researched, high-temperature CO2 adsorbent, hydrotalcite, by transforming it into a membrane. This was [...] Read more.
This study introduces an innovative approach to designing membranes capable of separating CO2 from industrial gas streams at higher temperatures. The novel membrane design seeks to leverage a well-researched, high-temperature CO2 adsorbent, hydrotalcite, by transforming it into a membrane. This was achieved by combining it with an amorphous organo-silica-based matrix, extending the polymer-based mixed-matrix membrane concept to inorganic compounds. Following the membrane material preparation and investigation of the individual membrane in Part 1 of this study, we examine its permeation and selectivity here. The pure 200 nm thick hydrotalcite membrane exhibits Knudsen behavior due to large intercrystalline pores. In contrast, the organo-silica membrane demonstrates an ideal selectivity of 13.5 and permeance for CO2 of 1.3 × 10−7 mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1 at 25 °C, and at 150 °C, the selectivity is reduced to 4.3. Combining both components results in a hybrid microstructure, featuring selective surface diffusion in the microporous regions and unselective Knudsen diffusion in the mesoporous regions. Further attempts to bridge both components to form a purely microporous microstructure are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Membrane Materials for CO2 Capture and Separation)
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23 pages, 30532 KiB  
Article
Performance and Impact of Crosslinking Level of Hierarchical Anion-Exchange Membranes on Demineralization of a Complex Food Solution by Electrodialysis
by Elodie Khetsomphou, Francesco Deboli, Mateusz L. Donten and Laurent Bazinet
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070155 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Promising results were recently reported for hierarchical ion-exchange membranes, fabricated by the UV crosslinking of a thin functional coating on a porous substrate, on model NaCl solution demineralization by electrodialysis (ED). Hierarchical anion-exchange membranes (hAEMs) have never been tested with complex solutions to [...] Read more.
Promising results were recently reported for hierarchical ion-exchange membranes, fabricated by the UV crosslinking of a thin functional coating on a porous substrate, on model NaCl solution demineralization by electrodialysis (ED). Hierarchical anion-exchange membranes (hAEMs) have never been tested with complex solutions to demonstrate their potential use in the biofood industry. The impact of three different crosslinking densities of the ion-exchange coating (EbN-1, EbN-2 and EbN-3) on the performances of whey demineralization by ED was investigated and compared with commercial AMX. The results showed that by increasing the coating crosslinking density, the membrane conductivity decreased, leading to an increase in the global system resistance during whey demineralization (from +28% to +64%). However, 18% sweet whey solutions were successfully treated until 70% demineralization for all membranes. The energy consumption (averaged EbN value of 14.8 vs. 15.1 Wh for AMX) and current efficiency (26.0 vs. 27.4%) were similar to the control. Potential fouling by non-protein nitrogen was detected by ATR-FTIR for hAEMs impacting some membranes properties and ED performances. Overall, EbN-1 obtained results were comparable with the benchmark and can be considered as an alternative membrane for whey demineralization by ED and other applications in the demineralization of complex products from the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Analysis and Characterization)
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14 pages, 5065 KiB  
Article
High-Performance Flexible Hybrid Silica Membranes with an Ultrasonic Atomization-Assisted Spray-Coated Active Layer on Polymer for Isopropanol Dehydration
by Mingjia Liao, He Guan, Hongfen Zuo, Guannan Ren and Genghao Gong
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070154 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Organic–inorganic hybrid silica materials, incorporating an organic group bridging two silicon atoms, have demonstrated great potential in creating membranes with excellent permselectivity. Yet, the large-scale production of polymer-supported flexible hybrid silica membranes has remained a significant challenge. In this study, we present an [...] Read more.
Organic–inorganic hybrid silica materials, incorporating an organic group bridging two silicon atoms, have demonstrated great potential in creating membranes with excellent permselectivity. Yet, the large-scale production of polymer-supported flexible hybrid silica membranes has remained a significant challenge. In this study, we present an easy and scalable approach for fabricating these membranes. By employing a sol–gel ultrasonic spray process with a single-pass method, we deposited a thin and uniform hybrid active layer onto a porous polymer substrate. We first optimized the deposition conditions, including substrate temperature, the binary solvent ratio of the silica sol, and various ultrasonic spray parameters. The resulting flexible hybrid silica membranes exhibited exceptional dehydration performance for isopropanol (IPA)/water solutions (IPA: 90 wt%) in the pervaporation process, achieving a water flux of 0.6 kg/(m2 h) and a separation factor of around 1300. This work demonstrates that the single-pass ultrasonic spray method is an effective strategy for the large-scale production of polymer-supported flexible hybrid silica membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inorganic Membranes for Energy and Environmental Applications)
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33 pages, 7458 KiB  
Article
Performance and Environmental Assessment of Biochar-Based Membranes Synthesized from Traditional and Eco-Friendly Solvents
by Abelline Fionah, Isaac Oluk, Laura Brady, Diana M. Byrne and Isabel C. Escobar
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070153 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Water contamination resulting from coal spills is one of the largest environmental problems affecting communities in the Appalachia Region of the United States. This coal slurry contains potentially toxic substances, such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and coal cleaning chemicals, and its leakage into [...] Read more.
Water contamination resulting from coal spills is one of the largest environmental problems affecting communities in the Appalachia Region of the United States. This coal slurry contains potentially toxic substances, such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and coal cleaning chemicals, and its leakage into water bodies (lakes, rivers, and aquifers) can lead to adverse health effects not only for freshwater bodies and plant life but also for humans. This study focused on two major experiments. The first experiment involved the use of biochar to create a biochar–polysulfone (BC-PSf) flat-sheet multifunctional membrane to remove organic contaminants, and the other major experiment compared eco-friendly (gamma-valerolactone—GVL; Rhodiasolv® PolarClean—PC) and petroleum-derived solvents (i.e., N-methyl-pyrrolidone—NMP) in the fabrication of the biochar–polysulfone membranes. The resulting membranes were tested for their efficiency in removing both positively and negatively charged organic contaminants from the collected water at varying pH values. A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) with accompanying uncertainty and sensitivity analyses was carried out to understand the global environmental impacts of incorporating biochar, NMP, GVL, and PC in the synthesis of PSf/NMP, BC-PSf/NMP, PSf/GVL, BC-PSf/GVL, PSf/PC, and BC-PSf/PC membranes at a set surface area of 1000 m2. The results showed that the addition of biochar to the membrane matrix increased the surface area of the membranes and improved both their adsorptive and mechanical properties. The membranes with biochar incorporated in their matrix showed a higher potential for contaminant removal than those without biochar. The environmental impacts normalized to the BC-PSf/GVL membrane showed that the addition of biochar increased global warming impacts, eutrophication, and respiratory impacts by over 100% in all the membrane configurations with biochar. The environmental impacts were highly sensitive to biochar addition (Spearman’s coefficient > 0.8). The BC/PSf membrane with Rhodiasolv® PolarClean had the lowest associated global environmental impacts among all the membranes with biochar. Ultimately, this study highlighted potential tradeoffs between functional performance and global environmental impacts regarding choices for membrane fabrication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Polymeric Membranes: Science, Materials and Applications)
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16 pages, 6386 KiB  
Article
Fouling Reduction and Thermal Efficiency Enhancement in Membrane Distillation Using a Bilayer-Fluorinated Alkyl Silane–Carbon Nanotube Membrane
by Sumona Paul, Mitun Chandra Bhoumick and Somenath Mitra
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070152 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
In this study, we report the robust hydrophobicity, lower fouling propensity, and high thermal efficiency of the 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (FAS)-coated, carbon nanotube-immobilized membrane (CNIM) when applied to desalination via membrane distillation. Referred to as FAS-CNIM, the membrane was developed through a process that combined [...] Read more.
In this study, we report the robust hydrophobicity, lower fouling propensity, and high thermal efficiency of the 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (FAS)-coated, carbon nanotube-immobilized membrane (CNIM) when applied to desalination via membrane distillation. Referred to as FAS-CNIM, the membrane was developed through a process that combined the drop-casting of nanotubes flowed by a dip coating of the FAS layer. The membranes were tested for porosity, surface morphology, thermal stability, contact angle, and flux. The static contact angle of the FAS-CNIM was 153 ± 1°, and the modified membrane showed enhancement in water flux by 18% compared to the base PTFE membrane. The flux was tested at different operating conditions and the fouling behavior was investigated under extreme conditions using a CaCO3 as well as a mixture of CaCO3 and CaSO4 solution. The FAS-CNIM showed significantly lower fouling than plain PTFE or the CNIM; the relative flux reduction was 34.4% and 37.6% lower than the control for the CaCO3 and CaCO3/CaSO4 mixed salt solution. The FAS-CNIM exhibited a notable decrease in specific energy consumption (SEC). Specifically, the SEC for the FAS-CNIM measured 311 kwh/m3 compared to 330.5 kwh/m3 for the CNIM and 354 kwh/m3 for PTFE using a mixture of CaCO3/CaSO4. This investigation underscores the significant contribution of the carbon nanotubes’ (CNTs) intermediate layer in creating a durable superhydrophobic membrane, highlighting the potential of utilizing carbon nanotubes for tailored interface engineering to tackle fouling for salt mixtures. The innovative design of a superhydrophobic membrane has the potential to alleviate wetting issues resulting from low surface energy contaminants present in the feed of membrane distillation processes. Full article
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16 pages, 3321 KiB  
Article
Cationic Imidazolium-Urethane-Based Poly(Ionic Liquids) Membranes for Enhanced CO2/CH4 Separation: Synthesis, Characterization, and Performance Evaluation
by Guilherme Dias, Laura Rocca, Henrique Z. Ferrari, Franciele L. Bernard, Fernando G. Brandão, Leonardo Pereira and Sandra Einloft
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070151 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 628
Abstract
The escalating emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere require the urgent development of technologies aimed at mitigating environmental impacts. Among these, aqueous amine solutions and polymeric membranes, such as cellulose acetate and polyimide are commercial technologies requiring improvement or substitution to enhance [...] Read more.
The escalating emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere require the urgent development of technologies aimed at mitigating environmental impacts. Among these, aqueous amine solutions and polymeric membranes, such as cellulose acetate and polyimide are commercial technologies requiring improvement or substitution to enhance the economic and energetic efficiency of CO2 separation processes. Ionic liquids and poly(ionic liquids) (PILs) are candidates to replace conventional CO2 separation technologies. PILs are a class of materials capable of combining the favorable gas affinity exhibited by ionic liquids (ILs) with the processability inherent in polymeric materials. In this context, the synthesis of the IL GLYMIM[Cl] was performed, followed by ion exchange processes to achieve GLYMIM variants with diverse counter anions (NTf2, PF6, and BF4). Subsequently, PIL membranes were fabricated from these tailored ILs and subjected to characterization, employing techniques such as SEC, FTIR, DSC, TGA, DMA, FEG-SEM, and CO2 sorption analysis using the pressure decay method. Furthermore, permeability and ideal selectivity assessments of CO2/CH4 mixture were performed to derive the diffusion and solubility coefficients for both CO2 and CH4. PIL membranes exhibited adequate thermal and mechanical properties. The PIL-BF4 demonstrated CO2 sorption capacities of 33.5 mg CO2/g at 1 bar and 104.8 mg CO2/g at 10 bar. Furthermore, the PIL-BF4 membrane exhibited permeability and ideal (CO2/CH4) selectivity values of 41 barrer and 44, respectively, surpassing those of a commercial cellulose acetate membrane as reported in the existing literature. This study underscores the potential of PIL-based membranes as promising candidates for enhanced CO2 capture technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Membrane Materials for CO2 Capture and Separation)
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13 pages, 2896 KiB  
Article
Influence of Iron and Magnesium on Fouling Properties of Organic Matter Solution in Membrane Process
by Mohammad T. Alresheedi
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070150 - 7 Jul 2024
Viewed by 483
Abstract
Organic matter has been identified as a significant type of foulant in membrane processes for water treatment. Its fouling tendency is highly affected by the presence of ions and inorganics. While the effects of ions addition on organic fouling have been extensively researched [...] Read more.
Organic matter has been identified as a significant type of foulant in membrane processes for water treatment. Its fouling tendency is highly affected by the presence of ions and inorganics. While the effects of ions addition on organic fouling have been extensively researched in the past, studies on the effect of positively-charged inorganics, such as Fe2+ and Mg2+, on organic fouling are limited. This study investigates the influence of Fe2+ and Mg2+ addition on fouling properties of the Suwannee River Organic Matter (SROM) solution in the MF process, with and without Ca2+ ions. Results showed that increasing the concentration of Fe2+ and Mg2+ from 0–5 mM promoted SROM fouling, and resulted in an increased flux decline up to 33% and 58%, respectively. Cake layer resistance became more dominant with the addition of Fe2+ and Mg2+, and was counted for more than 60% of the fouling. Mg2+, however, caused higher internal pore blocking, and facilitated the formation of a less permeable cake layer, compared to Fe2+. This was evident in the analysis of the cake layer properties and the visualization of the fouling layer. In all cases, SROM fouling with Fe2+ and Mg2+ worsened with the addition of Ca2+ ions. The results of the study indicated the importance of understanding the interaction between organic matter and Fe2+ and Mg2+, which would provide useful insights on their fouling mechanism and control. Full article
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13 pages, 7170 KiB  
Article
Application of Recycled Ultrafiltration Membranes in an Aerobic Membrane Bioreactor (aMBR): A Validation Study
by Laura Rodríguez-Sáez, Junkal Landaburu-Aguirre, Eloy García-Calvo and Serena Molina
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070149 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 595
Abstract
A validation study using recycled ultrafiltration membranes (r-UF) on an aerobic membrane bioreactor (aMBR) was conducted for the first time. Four different polyethersulfone (PES) membranes were tested using synthetic urban wastewater (COD 0.4–0.5 g/L) during two experimental periods: (i) recycled ultrafiltration membrane (r-UF) [...] Read more.
A validation study using recycled ultrafiltration membranes (r-UF) on an aerobic membrane bioreactor (aMBR) was conducted for the first time. Four different polyethersulfone (PES) membranes were tested using synthetic urban wastewater (COD 0.4–0.5 g/L) during two experimental periods: (i) recycled ultrafiltration membrane (r-UF) and commercial UF membrane (molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) 150 kDa) (c-150 kDa); (ii) r-UF membrane modified by dip-coating using catechol (CA) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) (mr-UF) and c-20 kDa membrane. Permeability, fouling behavior, and permeate quality were evaluated. Extensive membrane characterization was conducted using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Permeate quality for r-UF and mr-UF membranes was excellent and comparable to that obtained using commercial membranes under similar conditions. Additionally, r-UF and mr-UF membranes presented a steadier performance time. Additionally, r-UF membrane demonstrated less tendency to be fouled (Rf, m−1) r-UF 7.92 ± 0.57 × 1012; mr-UF 9.90 ± 0.14 × 1012, c-150 kDa 1.56 ± 0.07 × 1013 and c-20 kDa 1.25 ± 0.50 × 1013. The r-UF membrane showed an excellent antibiofouling character. Therefore, r-UF membranes can be successfully implemented for wastewater treatment in aMBR, being a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to commercial membranes that can contribute to overcome membrane fouling and membrane replacement issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Membranes and Membrane Technologies for Wastewater Treatment)
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34 pages, 8871 KiB  
Review
Cellulose Membranes: Synthesis and Applications for Water and Gas Separation and Purification
by Jinwu Wang, Syed Comail Abbas, Ling Li, Colleen C. Walker, Yonghao Ni and Zhiyong Cai
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070148 - 30 Jun 2024
Viewed by 978
Abstract
Membranes are a selective barrier that allows certain species (molecules and ions) to pass through while blocking others. Some rely on size exclusion, where larger molecules get stuck while smaller ones permeate through. Others use differences in charge or polarity to attract and [...] Read more.
Membranes are a selective barrier that allows certain species (molecules and ions) to pass through while blocking others. Some rely on size exclusion, where larger molecules get stuck while smaller ones permeate through. Others use differences in charge or polarity to attract and repel specific species. Membranes can purify air and water by allowing only air and water molecules to pass through, while preventing contaminants such as microorganisms and particles, or to separate a target gas or vapor, such as H2 and CO2, from other gases. The higher the flux and selectivity, the better a material is for membranes. The desirable performance can be tuned through material type (polymers, ceramics, and biobased materials), microstructure (porosity and tortuosity), and surface chemistry. Most membranes are made from plastic from petroleum-based resources, contributing to global climate change and plastic pollution. Cellulose can be an alternative sustainable resource for making renewable membranes. Cellulose exists in plant cell walls as natural fibers, which can be broken down into smaller components such as cellulose fibrils, nanofibrils, nanocrystals, and cellulose macromolecules through mechanical and chemical processing. Membranes made from reassembling these particles and molecules have variable pore architecture, porosity, and separation properties and, therefore, have a wide range of applications in nano-, micro-, and ultrafiltration and forward osmosis. Despite their advantages, cellulose membranes face some challenges. Improving the selectivity of membranes for specific molecules often comes at the expense of permeability. The stability of cellulose membranes in harsh environments or under continuous operation needs further improvement. Research is ongoing to address these challenges and develop advanced cellulose membranes with enhanced performance. This article reviews the microstructures, fabrication methods, and potential applications of cellulose membranes, providing some critical insights into processing–structure–property relationships for current state-of-the-art cellulosic membranes that could be used to improve their performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellulose Membranes: From Synthesis to Applications)
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25 pages, 9487 KiB  
Article
Effects of Varying Spiral-Ring Pitches on CO2 Absorption by Amine Solution in Concentric Circular Membrane Contactors
by Chii-Dong Ho, Jui-Wei Ke and Jun-Wei Lim
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070147 - 27 Jun 2024
Viewed by 510
Abstract
The CO2 absorption flux while using monoethanolamide (MEA) solution in a spiral-wired channel was significantly enhanced by optimizing both the descending and ascending spiral ring pitch configurations within the filled channel. In this study, two distinct spiral ring pitch configurations were integrated [...] Read more.
The CO2 absorption flux while using monoethanolamide (MEA) solution in a spiral-wired channel was significantly enhanced by optimizing both the descending and ascending spiral ring pitch configurations within the filled channel. In this study, two distinct spiral ring pitch configurations were integrated into concentric circular membrane contactors to augment CO2 absorption flux. Spiral rods were strategically inserted to mitigate concentration polarization effects, thereby reducing mass transfer boundary layers and increasing turbulence intensity. A theoretical one-dimensional model was developed to predict absorption flux and concentration distributions across varying MEA absorbent flow rates, CO2 feed flow rates, and inlet CO2 concentrations in the gas feed. Theoretical predictions of absorption flux improvement were validated against experimental results, demonstrating favorable agreement for both ascending and descending spiral ring pitch operations. Interestingly, the results indicated that descending spiral ring pitch operations achieved higher turbulent intensity compared to ascending configurations, thereby alleviating concentration polarization resistance and enhancing CO2 absorption flux with reduced polarization effects. Specifically, under conditions of a 40% inlet CO2 concentration and 5 cm3/s MEA feed flow rate, a notable 83.69% enhancement in absorption flux was achieved compared to using an empty channel configuration. Moreover, a generalized expression for the Sherwood number was derived to predict the mass transfer coefficient for CO2 absorption in concentric circular membrane contactors, providing a practical tool for performance estimation. The economic feasibility of the spiral-wired module was also assessed by evaluating both absorption flux improvement and incremental power consumption. Overall, these findings underscore the effectiveness of optimizing spiral ring pitch configurations in enhancing CO2 absorption flux, offering insights into improving the efficiency and economic viability of CO2 capture technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Applications)
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21 pages, 5914 KiB  
Article
Removal of Micropollutants in Water Reclamation by Membrane Filtration: Impact of Pretreatments and Adsorption
by Juan C. Aldana, Cristina Agudelo, Pedro M. Álvarez and Juan L. Acero
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070146 - 27 Jun 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Organic micropollutants (OMPs) present in water and wastewater are in the spotlight because of their potentially harmful effects even at low concentrations and the difficulties of their elimination in urban wastewater treatment plants (UWWTPs). This study explores the impact of some membrane filtration [...] Read more.
Organic micropollutants (OMPs) present in water and wastewater are in the spotlight because of their potentially harmful effects even at low concentrations and the difficulties of their elimination in urban wastewater treatment plants (UWWTPs). This study explores the impact of some membrane filtration processes on the removal of a group of 11 OMPs with an eye on the effects of two pretreatments (i.e., coagulation and adsorption onto powdered activated carbon (PAC)) and the adsorption of OMPs onto the membranes on the overall removal. For this purpose, ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) experiments were conducted with selected OMPs spiked in ultrapure water and secondary effluents from UWWTPs. It was observed that the adsorption of OMPs onto the membranes was influenced by the characteristics of the membranes, as well as the presence of effluent organic matter (EfOM). Since adsorption was the dominant mechanism for the rejection of OMPs by UF membranes, a study of the adsorption equilibrium of the micropollutants using UF membrane pieces as the adsorbent was conducted. The adsorption isotherms for the most hydrophobic OMPs fitted the Langmuir model. The efficiency of coagulation and powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption coupled with UF were also investigated. Both pretreatments alleviated membrane fouling and improved the rejection of organic and inorganic matter. The PAC pretreatment significantly improved the removal of OMPs in the combined PAC/UF process. The best options for achieving reclaimed water with satisfactory physicochemical quality, nearly devoid of OMPs and microorganisms, and suitable for diverse reuse purposes are either the NF treatment or the combination of PAC/UF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Membranes and Membrane Technologies for Wastewater Treatment)
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12 pages, 2623 KiB  
Article
Surface Modification of Polyethylene Terephthalate Track-Etched Membranes by 2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7-Dodecafluoroheptyl Acrylate for Application in Water Desalination by Direct Contact Membrane Distillation
by Aigerim Kh. Shakayeva, Arman B. Yeszhanov, Alexander N. Borissenko, Murat T. Kassymzhanov, Ainash T. Zhumazhanova, Nikolai A. Khlebnikov, A. K. Nurkassimov, Maxim V. Zdorovets, Olgun Güven and Ilya V. Korolkov
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070145 - 25 Jun 2024
Viewed by 938
Abstract
In this work, the surfaces of poly (ethylene terephthalate) track-etched membranes (PET TeMs) with pore sizes of 670–1310 nm were hydrophobized with 2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7-dodecafluoroheptyl acrylate (DFHA) by photoinitiated graft polymerization. Attenuated total reflection FTIR spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled to an energy-dispersive [...] Read more.
In this work, the surfaces of poly (ethylene terephthalate) track-etched membranes (PET TeMs) with pore sizes of 670–1310 nm were hydrophobized with 2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7-dodecafluoroheptyl acrylate (DFHA) by photoinitiated graft polymerization. Attenuated total reflection FTIR spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled to an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX), and contact angle measurements were used to identify and characterize the TeMs. The optimal parameters for graft polymerization were determined as follows: polymerization time of 60 min, monomer concentration of 30%, and distance from the UV source of 7 cm. The water contact angle of the modified membranes reached 97°, which is 51° for pristine membranes. The modified membranes were tested for water desalination using direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) method. The effects of membrane pore size, the degree of grafting, and salt concentration on the performance of membrane distillation process were investigated. According to the results obtained, it has been concluded that large pore size hydrophobic TeMs modified by using DFHA could be used for desalinating water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Applications)
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19 pages, 7137 KiB  
Review
Bibliometric and Visual Analysis of Studies on Ceramic Membranes: A Review
by Hao Xiong, Xianfu Chen, Jun Feng, Fan Zhang, Minghui Qiu, Qi Zhang and Yiqun Fan
Membranes 2024, 14(7), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14070144 - 25 Jun 2024
Viewed by 532
Abstract
As a high-performance separation material, the ceramic membrane has played a crucial role in addressing resource, energy, and environmental challenges. Here, we carried out literature retrieval and collection for the research of ceramic membranes based on the Web of Science. The retrieval strategy [...] Read more.
As a high-performance separation material, the ceramic membrane has played a crucial role in addressing resource, energy, and environmental challenges. Here, we carried out literature retrieval and collection for the research of ceramic membranes based on the Web of Science. The retrieval strategy was quantitatively evaluated from two dimensions: recall and precision. The distributions of publication time, journal, and related subjects were systematically analyzed. With the help of CiteSpace and VOSviewer, the literature was visually analyzed through the co-occurrence map of authors and the cluster network of keywords. The findings indicate a strong correlation between ceramic membrane research and the field of Chemical Engineering. A core group of authors has emerged as prominent contributors in this area of study. Additionally, there is a notable long-tail effect observed in the application of ceramic membranes. Despite their current low-frequency usage and high-volume potential, these applications hold substantial promise for future scientific research and industrial development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Inorganic Membranes)
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