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Membrane Distillation Trial on Textile Wastewater Containing Surfactants Using Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic-Coated Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Membranes

Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
Australian Textile Mills Pty Ltd., Wangaratta, VIC 3677, Australia
Laboratoire de Génie Chimique (LGC), Université de Toulouse, CNRS, INPT, UPS, Toulouse 31432, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Membranes 2018, 8(2), 31;
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 9 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Applications in Industry and Chemical Analysis)
PDF [2312 KB, uploaded 15 June 2018]


Treating wastewater from textile plants using membrane distillation (MD) has great potential due to the high-salinity wastes and availability of waste heat. However, textile wastewaters also contain surfactants, which compromise the essential hydrophobic feature of the membrane, causing membrane wetting. To address this wetting issue, a custom-made membrane consisting of a hydrophilic layer coated on hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) was tested on textile wastewater in a pilot MD setup, and compared with a conventional hydrophobic PTFE membrane. The test was carried out with a feed temperature of 60 °C, and a permeate temperature of 45 °C. The overall salt rejection of both membranes was very high, at 99%. However, the hydrophobic membrane showed rising permeate electrical conductivity, which was attributed to wetting of the membrane. Meanwhile, the hydrophilic-coated membrane showed continually declining electrical conductivity demonstrating an intact membrane that resisted wetting from the surfactants. Despite this positive result, the coated membrane did not survive a simple sodium hydroxide clean, which would be typically applied to a membrane process. This brief study showed the viability of membrane distillation membranes on real textile wastewaters containing surfactants using hydrophilic-coated hydrophobic PTFE, but the cleaning process required for membranes needs optimization. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane distillation; hydrophilic membrane; polytetrafluoroethylene; desalination membrane distillation; hydrophilic membrane; polytetrafluoroethylene; desalination

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Villalobos García, J.; Dow, N.; Milne, N.; Zhang, J.; Naidoo, L.; Gray, S.; Duke, M. Membrane Distillation Trial on Textile Wastewater Containing Surfactants Using Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic-Coated Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Membranes. Membranes 2018, 8, 31.

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