Composite Conducting Membranes: Preparation, Properties, and Applications-Volume 2

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375). This special issue belongs to the section "Membrane Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2023) | Viewed by 20976

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Center of Excellence for Research in Engineering Materials (CEREM), Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR), College of Engineering, King Saud University, P.O. Box 800, Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
Interests: nanomaterials; graphene; conducting polymers; carbon nanotubes; composites materials; material characterizations; biomaterials; quantum dots; nanofibers membranes; renewable energy; water treatments; drug delivery
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center of Excellence for Research in Engineering Materials (CEREM), Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR), College of Engineering, King Saud University, P.O. Box 800, Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
Interests: electrospun nanofiber membranes; hydrogels for water treatment by adsorption of pollutants (such as metal ions and dyes); antibiotic activities and drug delivery
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The preparation, characterization, and applications of composite conducting membranes have been widely studied due to their fascinating properties. An important use of nanoparticles and conducting polymers or ceramics is in composites, materials that combine one or more separate components and which are designed to exhibit, overall, the best properties of each component. This multifunctionality applies not only to electrical properties but extends to mechanical, optical, and magnetic ones. The exceptional physicochemical properties rendered by nanomaterials at the molecular level hold great potential to address the limitations and bottlenecks of conventionally used polymeric and ceramic membranes. Currently, the major development in this field is focused on the innovative design of composite conducting membranes in which membrane structures and properties have been carefully tailored and controlled through the incorporation of a wide range of engineered nanomaterials.

In this Special Issue, we invite researchers to share their works by submitting reviews or communications and articles on topics concerning the development of composite conducting membranes. The Special Issue will specifically cover all aspects associated with the synthesis of nanomaterials, the fabrication of composite conducting membranes, their modifications, and their applications in various membrane-based processes, including desalination, wastewater treatment, biomedicine, energy, and environmental remediation.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rezaul Karim
Dr. Muhammad Omer Aijaz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Membranes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Composites
  • Conducting polymers
  • Nanofiber membranes
  • Functional nanomaterials
  • Physical and chemical modifications
  • Wastewater treatments
  • Biomedical applications
  • Environmental remediation
  • Energy applications
  • Desalination

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 3995 KiB  
Communication
Production of Stable Electrically Conductive PVDF Membranes Based on Polydopamine-Polyethyleneimine—Assisted Deposition of Carbon Nanotubes
by Abdelrahman M. Awad and Charles-François de Lannoy
Membranes 2024, 14(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes14040094 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Electrically conductive membranes (ECMs) have emerged as a multifunctional separation technology that integrates membrane filtration with electrochemical reactions. Physical stability remains a critical challenge for ECMs synthesized by coating polymer membranes with conductive materials. In this article, polydopamine (PDA) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) were [...] Read more.
Electrically conductive membranes (ECMs) have emerged as a multifunctional separation technology that integrates membrane filtration with electrochemical reactions. Physical stability remains a critical challenge for ECMs synthesized by coating polymer membranes with conductive materials. In this article, polydopamine (PDA) and polyethyleneimine (PEI) were used to facilitate the synthesis of significantly more stable ECMs using poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) ultrafiltration membranes and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Four different synthesis methods were compared in terms of the final surface stability and separation properties: (1) CNTs deposited on PEI-crosslinked PDA-coated PVDF membranes, (2) PEI-crosslinked CNTs deposited on PDA-coated PVDF, (3) PDA, PEI and CNTs sequentially deposited layer-by-layer on PVDF, and (4) PEI-crosslinked PDA deposited on CNT-coated PVDF. The results revealed that method 1 generated ECMs with the greatest physical stability, highest electrical conductivity (18,518 S/m), and sufficient permeability (395.2 L/(m2·h·bar). In comparison, method 2 resulted in membranes with the highest permeability (2128.5 L/(m2·h·bar), but with low surface conductivity (502 S/m) and poor physical stability (i.e., 53–75% lower peel-off forces compared to other methods). Overall, methods 1, 3, and 4 can be used to make highly conductive membranes with a 97–99% removal of methyl orange by electrochemical degradation at −3 V. Full article
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15 pages, 6841 KiB  
Article
Pore-Scale Modeling of Microporous Layer for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell: Effective Transport Properties
by Heng Zhang, Xuanyu Shao, Zhigang Zhan, Mrittunjoy Sarker, Pang-Chieh Sui, Po-Ya Abel Chuang and Mu Pan
Membranes 2023, 13(2), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13020219 - 10 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2767
Abstract
A microporous layer (MPL) is a transition layer with a porous material structure, located between the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst layer (CL) in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). It not only significantly improves electron transfer and heat conduction in [...] Read more.
A microporous layer (MPL) is a transition layer with a porous material structure, located between the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst layer (CL) in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). It not only significantly improves electron transfer and heat conduction in membrane electrode assembly, but also effectively manages liquid water transport to enhance the fuel cell performance. The MPL is usually coated on one side of the GDL. The fragile nature of MPL makes it challenging to characterize the effective transport properties using experimental methods. In this study, a stochastic numerical method is implemented to reconstruct the three-dimensional microstructure of an MPL consisting of carbon particles and PTFE. The reliability of the MPL reconstructed model is validated using experimental data. The relationship between the effective transport properties and the compression strain is obtained using the Pore Scale Model (PSM), while the relationship between the liquid water saturation and capillary pressure is solved by Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM). The effective transport properties in the MPL are then imported into the two-phase flow fuel cell model. It is found that the effective transport parameters in MPL obtained by PSM and LBM can improve the accuracy of the model calculation. This study provides an effective method to reconstruct the microstructure of MPL that can generate precise MPL transport parameters for utilization in various PEMFC performance prediction models. Full article
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17 pages, 4090 KiB  
Article
A Complex Investigation of LATP Ceramic Stability and LATP+PVDF Composite Membrane Performance: The Effect of Solvent in Tape-Casting Fabrication
by Zainab Waris, Nikita O. Akhmetov, Mariam A. Pogosova, Svetlana A. Lipovskikh, Sergey V. Ryazantsev and Keith J. Stevenson
Membranes 2023, 13(2), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13020155 - 26 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2125
Abstract
Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are a prospective energy storage platform to mitigate the discrepancy between barely adjustable energy production and fluctuating demand. The energy density and affordability of RFBs can be improved significantly through the transition from aqueous systems to non-aqueous (NAq) due [...] Read more.
Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are a prospective energy storage platform to mitigate the discrepancy between barely adjustable energy production and fluctuating demand. The energy density and affordability of RFBs can be improved significantly through the transition from aqueous systems to non-aqueous (NAq) due to their wider electrochemical stability window and better solubility of active species. However, the NAqRFBs suffer from a lack of effective membranes with high ionic conductivity (IC), selectivity (low permeability), and stability. Here, we for the first time thoroughly analyse the impact of tape-casting solvents (dimethylformamide—DMF; dimethylsulfoxide—DMSO; N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone—NMP) on the properties of the composite Li-conductive membrane (Li1.3Al0.3Ti1.7(PO4)3 filler within poly(vinylidene fluoride) binder—LATP+PVDF). We show that the prolonged exposure of LATP to the studied solvents causes slight morphological, elemental, and intrastructural changes, dropping ceramic’s IC from 3.1 to 1.6–1.9 ∙ 10−4 S cm−1. Depending on the solvent, the final composite membranes exhibit IC of 1.1–1.7 ∙ 10−4 S cm−1 (comparable with solvent-treated ceramics) along with correlating permeability coefficients of 2.7–3.1 ∙ 10−7 cm2 min−1. We expect this study to complement the understanding of how the processes underlying the membrane fabrication impact its functional features and to stimulate further in-depth research of NAqRFB membranes. Full article
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16 pages, 34576 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Electrospun Poly(lactic acid)/Poly(ethylene glycol)–b–poly(propylene glycol)–b–poly(ethylene glycol)/Silicon Dioxide Nanofibrous Adsorbents for Selective Copper (II) Ions Removal from Wastewater
by Muhammad Omer Aijaz, Seong Baek Yang, Mohammad Rezaul Karim, Ibrahim Abdullah Alnaser, Abdulelah Dhaifallah Alahmari, Fahad S. Almubaddel and Abdulaziz K. Assaifan
Membranes 2023, 13(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13010054 - 1 Jan 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2441
Abstract
The problem of industrial wastewater containing heavy metals is always a big concern, especially Cu2+, which interprets the soil activity in farmland and leaves a negative impact on the environment by damaging the health of animals. Various methods have been proposed [...] Read more.
The problem of industrial wastewater containing heavy metals is always a big concern, especially Cu2+, which interprets the soil activity in farmland and leaves a negative impact on the environment by damaging the health of animals. Various methods have been proposed as countermeasures against heavy-metal contaminations, and, as a part of this, an electrospun nanofibrous adsorption method for wastewater treatment is presented as an alternative. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a biopolymer with an intrinsic hydrophobic property that has been considered one of the sustainable nanofibrous adsorbents for carrying adsorbate. Due to the hydrophobic nature of PLA, it is difficult to adsorb Cu2+ contained in wastewater. In this study, the hydrophilic PLA/poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(propylene glycol)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PPG-PEG) nanofibrous adsorbents with different silicon dioxide (SiO2) concentrations were successfully prepared by electrospinning. A hydrophilic group of PEG-PPG-PEG was imparted in PLA by the blending method. The prepared PLA/PEG-PPG-PEG/SiO2 nanofibrous adsorbents were analyzed with their morphological, contact angle analysis, and chemical structure. The Cu2+ adsorption capacities of the different PLA/PEG-PPG-PEG/SiO2 nanofibrous adsorbents were also investigated. The adsorption results indicated that the Cu2+ removal capacity of PLA/PEG-PPG-PEG/SiO2 nanofibrous adsorbents was higher than that of pure ones. Additionally, as an affinity nanofibrous adsorbent, its adsorption capacity was maintained after multiple recycling processes (desorption and re-adsorption). It is expected to be a promising nanofibrous adsorbents that will adsorb Cu2+ for wastewater treatment. Full article
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15 pages, 3362 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Poly(Lactic Acid)/Poly (ethylene glycol)-Poly(propyl glycol)-Poly(ethylene glycol) Blended Nanofiber Membranes for Fog Collection
by Muhammad Omer Aijaz, Seong Baek Yang, Mohammad Rezaul Karim, Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman and Ibrahim Abdullah Alnaser
Membranes 2023, 13(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13010032 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2276
Abstract
Fog is a resource with great potential to capture fresh water from the atmosphere, regardless of the geographical and hydrological conditions. Micro-sized fog collection requires materials with hydrophilic/phobic patterns. In this study, we prepared hydrophilic poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(propyl glycol)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PPG-PEG) blended [...] Read more.
Fog is a resource with great potential to capture fresh water from the atmosphere, regardless of the geographical and hydrological conditions. Micro-sized fog collection requires materials with hydrophilic/phobic patterns. In this study, we prepared hydrophilic poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(propyl glycol)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PPG-PEG) blended nanofiber membranes with various PEG-PPG-PEG concentrations by electrospinning. Changes in the morphological and chemical properties, surface wettability, and thermal stability of the PLA/PEG-PPG-PEG composite nanofiber membranes were confirmed using field-emission scanning electron microscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, contact angle testing, and thermogravimetric analysis. As the PEG-PPG-PEG content of the nanofiber membranes increased, their hydrophilicity increased. Water stability, membrane porosity, and water transport rate tests were also conducted to observe the behavior of the hydrophilic PLA nanocomposite membranes in aqueous media. Finally, we applied the PLA-based membranes as fog collectors. As the PEG-PPG-PEG content of the nanofiber membranes increased, their ability to collect fog increased by over 40% compared with that collected by a pure PLA membrane. The prepared membranes not only improve the ability of fog collectors to harvest water but also broaden the use of PLA-based membranes in multiple applications, including tissue engineering, drug delivery, scaffolds, and pharmaceuticals. Full article
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20 pages, 4888 KiB  
Article
Substantial Proton Ion Conduction in Methylcellulose/Pectin/Ammonium Chloride Based Solid Nanocomposite Polymer Electrolytes: Effect of ZnO Nanofiller
by John Ojur Dennis, Abdullahi Abbas Adam, M. K. M. Ali, Hassan Soleimani, Muhammad Fadhlullah Bin Abd. Shukur, K. H. Ibnaouf, O. Aldaghri, M. H. Eisa, M. A. Ibrahem, Abubakar Bashir Abdulkadir and Vipin Cyriac
Membranes 2022, 12(7), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12070706 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2064
Abstract
In this research, nanocomposite solid polymer electrolytes (NCSPEs) comprising methylcellulose/pectin (MC/PC) blend as host polymer, ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) as an ion source, and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) as nanofillers were synthesized via a solution cast methodology. Techniques such as Fourier [...] Read more.
In this research, nanocomposite solid polymer electrolytes (NCSPEs) comprising methylcellulose/pectin (MC/PC) blend as host polymer, ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) as an ion source, and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) as nanofillers were synthesized via a solution cast methodology. Techniques such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) were employed to characterize the electrolyte. FTIR confirmed that the polymers, NH4Cl salt, and ZnO nanofiller interact with one another appreciably. EIS demonstrated the feasibility of achieving a conductivity of 3.13 × 10−4 Scm−1 for the optimum electrolyte at room temperature. Using the dielectric formalism technique, the dielectric properties, energy modulus, and relaxation time of NH4Cl in MC/PC/NH4Cl and MC/PC/NH4Cl/ZnO systems were determined. The contribution of chain dynamics and ion mobility was acknowledged by the presence of a peak in the imaginary portion of the modulus study. The LSV measurement yielded 4.55 V for the comparatively highest conductivity NCSPE. Full article
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21 pages, 7548 KiB  
Article
Self-Healing Silver Nanowires and Reduced Graphene Oxide/Polyurethane Composite Film Based on the Diels–Alder Reaction under Infrared Radiation
by Yi Wang, Zhimin Zhou, Jiali Chen, Sixing Li, Han Zheng, Jiaxin Lu, Shuyue Wang, Jiahao Zhang, Kaiwen Lin, Ke Wang and Yuehui Wang
Membranes 2022, 12(4), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12040405 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2109
Abstract
The hybrid composite of silver nanowires (AgNWs) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) was synthesized in situ by an improved polyol–thermal method. The AgNWs-RGO with mass contents of 5–37 wt% was added into the thermo-reversible Diels–Alder reaction polyurethane (DA-PU) matrix with the AgNWs as [...] Read more.
The hybrid composite of silver nanowires (AgNWs) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) was synthesized in situ by an improved polyol–thermal method. The AgNWs-RGO with mass contents of 5–37 wt% was added into the thermo-reversible Diels–Alder reaction polyurethane (DA-PU) matrix with the AgNWs as the main conductor and the RGO as the auxiliary conductor to prepare self-healing composite conductive films. Further, the electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, mechanical properties, infrared thermal response, and self-healing property of the composite film under infrared light irradiation were studied. The experimental results demonstrate that the AgNWs-RGO endows the composite film with good electrical and thermal conductivity and infrared thermal response ability, while the mechanical properties of the composite film decrease as the AgNWs-RGO mass content increases. The self-healing efficiency of the composite film is higher than that of the pure DA-PU under infrared light irradiation due to the good infrared photothermal response ability of the AgNWs-RGO. When the mass content of AgNWs-RGO in the composite film was 25 wt%, the AgNWs-RGO showed good dispersion in composite films, and the resistivity, thermal conductivity, and tensile strength of the composite film were 0.544 Ω·m, 0.3039 W·m−1·K−1, and 9.05 MPa, respectively. The infrared photothermal conversion temperature of the composite film is 158.5 °C (3450 lux for 1 min), and the infrared photothermal self-healing efficiency is 118% (3450 lux for 600 s). The AgNWs-RGO also improves the multiple self-healing ability of the composite film. The use of a high mass content of AgNWs-RGO in the composite film is beneficial in obtaining high multiple self-healing efficiencies. The first and the fifth infrared thermal self-healing efficiencies of the composite film with AgNWs-RGO of 35 wt% are 105% and 86%, respectively, and the resistivity of the composite film changes little and still maintains good conductivity. Full article
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Review

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38 pages, 6674 KiB  
Review
A State-of-Art on the Development of Nafion-Based Membrane for Performance Improvement in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
by Wei Wuen Ng, Hui San Thiam, Yean Ling Pang, Kok Chung Chong and Soon Onn Lai
Membranes 2022, 12(5), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12050506 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 4703
Abstract
Nafion, a perfluorosulfonic acid proton exchange membrane (PEM), has been widely used in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) to serve as a proton carrier, methanol barrier, and separator for the anode and cathode. A significant drawback of Nafion in DMFC applications is the [...] Read more.
Nafion, a perfluorosulfonic acid proton exchange membrane (PEM), has been widely used in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) to serve as a proton carrier, methanol barrier, and separator for the anode and cathode. A significant drawback of Nafion in DMFC applications is the high anode-to-cathode methanol fuel permeability that results in over 40% fuel waste. Therefore, the development of a new membrane with lower permeability while retaining the high proton conductivity and other inherent properties of Nafion is greatly desired. In light of these considerations, this paper discusses the research findings on developing Nafion-based membranes for DMFC. Several aspects of the DMFC membrane are also presented, including functional requirements, transport mechanisms, and preparation strategies. More importantly, the effect of the various modification approaches on the performance of the Nafion membrane is highlighted. These include the incorporation of inorganic fillers, carbon nanomaterials, ionic liquids, polymers, or other techniques. The feasibility of these membranes for DMFC applications is discussed critically in terms of transport phenomena-related characteristics such as proton conductivity and methanol permeability. Moreover, the current challenges and future prospects of Nafion-based membranes for DMFC are presented. This paper will serve as a resource for the DMFC research community, with the goal of improving the cost-effectiveness and performance of DMFC membranes. Full article
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