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Membranes 2018, 8(4), 111;

Role of Nanocomposite Support Stiffness on TFC Membrane Water Permeance

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Clemson University, 127 Earle Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Clemson Nanomaterials Institute, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Clemson University, 342 Computer Court, Anderson, SC 29625, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 18 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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This paper discusses the role played by the mechanical stiffness of porous nanocomposite supports on thin-film composite (TFC) membrane water permeance. Helically coiled and multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were studied as additives in the nanocomposite supports. Mechanical stiffness was evaluated using tensile tests and penetration tests. While a low loading of CNTs caused macrovoids that decreased the structural integrity, adding higher loads of CNTs compensated for this effect, and this resulted in a net increase in structural stiffness. It was found that the Young’s modulus of the nanocomposite supports increased by 30% upon addition of CNTs at 2 wt %. Results were similar for both types of CNTs. An empirical model for porous composite materials described the Young’s modulus results. The nanocomposite supports were subsequently used to create TFC membranes. TFC membranes with stiffer supports were more effective at preventing declines in water permeance during compression. These findings support the idea that increasing the mechanical stiffness of TFC membrane nanocomposite supports is an effective strategy for enhancing water production in desalination operations. View Full-Text
Keywords: thin-film composite; stiffness; water permeance; support layer thin-film composite; stiffness; water permeance; support layer

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Idarraga-Mora, J.A.; Childress, A.S.; Friedel, P.S.; Ladner, D.A.; Rao, A.M.; Husson, S.M. Role of Nanocomposite Support Stiffness on TFC Membrane Water Permeance. Membranes 2018, 8, 111.

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