Special Issue "Nanostructured Membranes"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lingxue Kong

Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, VIC 3216, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nanostructured membranes, porous materials, membrane characterization
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kuo-Lun Tung

Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Inorganic Membrane Fabrication; Membrane Filtration Mechanism; Membrane Module Design; Multi-scale Simulation
Guest Editor
Dr. Ludovic Dumée

Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, Victoria 3216, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: catalytic membrane reactors; nanoporous membranes; solvent separation; advanced characterization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The world’s growing population and demographic changes demand the supply of an unprecedented volume of clean water to society. Increasing agricultural activities and industrialization also generate a large amount of waste that will have a significant impact on sustainable development. This has led to the innovative development of materials to be used by various separation industries.

The unique nanostructure and enhanced surface properties of nano-materials offer new perspectives for separation membranes. The surface energy, porosity, crystalline structure and morphology at the nano-scale were shown to have a direct impact on the materials plasmonic, magnetic, catalytic, thermodynamic, and filtering properties, opening new routes in the design of exciting membrane separation systems. The application of nano-structured materials in separation science, which is concerned with how to selectively reclaim solvents or remove contaminants from mainstreams; however, there are a number of challenges, largely related to particles agglomeration, high energy consumption, organic, inorganic, and biological fouling, mechanical and chemical stability of the nano-materials surface properties, and evident reproducibility due to the diverse scope of existing synthesis techniques.

New active surfaces and interfaces have been developed over the past 10 years, largely based on hybrid materials, including metal and metal oxide based, electrically conducting, and ion conducting polymers. Advances have been made in combinatorial material design, aiming at the development of multi-functional hybrid systems.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish high quality research papers, as well as review articles addressing recent advances on the applications of nano structured membrane materials. Original, high quality contributions that are not yet published or that are not currently under review by other journals or peer-reviewed conferences are sought.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • New nano-scale porous architectures
  • Interfacial interactions between nano-materials and contaminants
  • Modelling on fouling and scaling at the nanoscale;
  • Novel strategies to incorporate catalytic materials across chemical reactors;
  • Advanced catalytic coatings and surfaces;
  • Photo-catalysis applied to liquid and gas remediation;
  • Passivation and regeneration of nano-catalysts;
  • Design of super-adsorbents;
  • Super-adsorbents for solvent reclamation
  • Nano-textured or porous membrane materials
  • Flow enhancement across nano-porous membranes
  • Advanced characterisation technology of nanostructured membranes
  • Computational simulation of membrane processes
  • Molecular dynamics simulation of flow and interfacial interaction

Prof. Dr. Lingxue Kong
Prof. Dr. Kuo-Lun Tung
Dr. Ludovic Dumee
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 papers will be 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 1000 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

  • Nanostructure
  • Surface interfacial interaction
  • Super-adsorbents
  • Modelling

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle In Situ SAXS Measurement and Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Magnetic Alignment of Hexagonal LLC Nanostructures
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040123
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 2 December 2018
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Abstract
The alignment of nanostructures in materials such as lyotropic liquid crystal (LLC) templated materials has the potential to significantly improve their performances. However, accurately characterising and quantifying the alignment of such fine structures remains very challenging. In situ small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) [...] Read more.
The alignment of nanostructures in materials such as lyotropic liquid crystal (LLC) templated materials has the potential to significantly improve their performances. However, accurately characterising and quantifying the alignment of such fine structures remains very challenging. In situ small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and molecular dynamics were employed for the first time to understand the hexagonal LLC alignment process with magnetic nanoparticles under a magnetic field. The enhanced alignment has been illustrated from the distribution of azimuthal intensity in the samples exposed to magnetic field. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal the relationship between the imposed force of the magnetic nanoparticles under magnetic field and the force transferred to the LLC cylinders which leads to the LLC alignment. The combinational study with experimental measurement and computational simulation will enable the development and control of nanostructures in novel materials for various applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Surface-Engineered Inorganic Nanoporous Membranes for Vapor and Pervaporative Separations of Water–Ethanol Mixtures
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
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Abstract
Surface wettability-tailored porous ceramic/metallic membranes (in the tubular and planar disc form) were prepared and studied for both vapor-phase separation and liquid pervaporative separations of water-ethanol mixtures. Superhydrophobic nanoceramic membranes demonstrated more selective permeation of ethanol (relative to water) by cross-flow pervaporation of [...] Read more.
Surface wettability-tailored porous ceramic/metallic membranes (in the tubular and planar disc form) were prepared and studied for both vapor-phase separation and liquid pervaporative separations of water-ethanol mixtures. Superhydrophobic nanoceramic membranes demonstrated more selective permeation of ethanol (relative to water) by cross-flow pervaporation of liquid ethanol–water mixture (10 wt % ethanol feed at 80 °C). In addition, both superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic membranes were tested for the vapor-phase separations of water–ethanol mixtures. Porous inorganic membranes having relatively large nanopores (up to 8-nm) demonstrated good separation selectivity with higher permeation flux through a non-molecular-sieving mechanism. Due to surface-enhanced separation selectivity, larger nanopore-sized membranes (~5–100 nm) can be employed for both pervaporation and vapor phase separations to obtain higher selectivity (e.g., permselectivity for ethanol of 13.9 during pervaporation and a vapor phase separation factor of 1.6), with higher flux due to larger nanopores than the traditional size-exclusion membranes (e.g., inorganic zeolite-based membranes having sub-nanometer pores). The prepared superhydrophobic porous inorganic membranes in this work showed good thermal stability (i.e., the large contact angle remains the same after 300 °C for 4 h) and chemical stability to ethanol, while the silica-textured superhydrophilic surfaced membranes can tolerate even higher temperatures. These surface-engineered metallic/ceramic nanoporous membranes should have better high-temperature tolerance for hot vapor processing than those reported for polymeric membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Polysulfone/Polyamide-SiO2 Composite Membrane with High Permeance for Organic Solvent Nanofiltration
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
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Abstract
To improve the filtration performance and properties of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes, we firstly introduce nanoporous silica (SiO2) particles into the polyamide (PA) active layer of polysulfone (PSf) membrane via an interfacial polymerization process. Results from the study revealed that [...] Read more.
To improve the filtration performance and properties of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes, we firstly introduce nanoporous silica (SiO2) particles into the polyamide (PA) active layer of polysulfone (PSf) membrane via an interfacial polymerization process. Results from the study revealed that introduction of SiO2 influenced the properties of PSf/PA-SiO2 composite membranes by changing the surface roughness and hydrophilicity. Moreover, results also indicated that nanoporous SiO2 modified membranes showed an improved performance of alcohols solvent permeance. The PSf/PA-SiO2 composite membrane modified by 0.025 wt % of SiO2 reached a permeance of 3.29 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 for methanol and 0.42 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 for ethanol, which were 20.0% and 13.5% higher than the control PSf membrane (permeance of 2.74 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 for methanol and 0.37 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 for ethanol). Conclusively, we demonstrated that the increase of membrane hydrophilicity and roughness were major factors contributing to the improved alcohols solvent permeance of the membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Dual Functional Ultrafiltration Membranes with Enzymatic Digestion and Thermo-Responsivity for Protein Self-Cleaning
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
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Abstract
Controlling surface–protein interaction during wastewater treatment is the key motivation for developing functionally modified membranes. A new biocatalytic thermo-responsive poly vinylidene fluoride (PVDF)/nylon-6,6/poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)(PNIPAAm) ultrafiltration membrane was fabricated to achieve dual functionality of protein-digestion and thermo-responsive self-cleaning. The PVDF/nylon-6,6/PNIPAAm composite membranes were [...] Read more.
Controlling surface–protein interaction during wastewater treatment is the key motivation for developing functionally modified membranes. A new biocatalytic thermo-responsive poly vinylidene fluoride (PVDF)/nylon-6,6/poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)(PNIPAAm) ultrafiltration membrane was fabricated to achieve dual functionality of protein-digestion and thermo-responsive self-cleaning. The PVDF/nylon-6,6/PNIPAAm composite membranes were constructed by integrating a hydrophobic PVDF cast layer and hydrophilic nylon-6,6/PNIPAAm nanofiber layer on to which trypsin was covalently immobilized. The enzyme immobilization density on the membrane surface decreased with increasing PNIPAAm concentration, due to the decreased number of amine functional sites. An ultrafiltration study was performed using the synthetic model solution containing BSA/NaCl/CaCl2, where the PNIPAAm containing biocatalytic membranes demonstrated a combined effect of enzymatic and thermo-switchable self-cleaning. The membrane without PNIPAAm revealed superior fouling resistance and self-cleaning with an RPD of 22%, compared to membranes with 2 and 4 wt % PNIPAAm with 26% and 33% RPD, respectively, after an intermediate temperature cleaning at 50 °C, indicating that higher enzyme density offers more efficient self-cleaning than the combined effect of enzyme and PNIPAAm at low concentration. The conformational volume phase transition of PNIPAAm did not affect the stability of immobilized trypsin on membrane surfaces. Such novel surface engineering design offer a promising route to mitigate surface–protein contamination in wastewater applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Membranes with Intrinsic Micro-Porosity: Structure, Solubility, and Applications
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 26 December 2018
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Abstract
Microporous polymer membranes have been widely studied because of their excellent separation performance. Among them, polymers of intrinsic micro-porosity (PIMs) have been regarded as a potential next-generation membrane material for their ultra-permeable characteristics and their solution-processing ability. Therefore, many reviews have been reported [...] Read more.
Microporous polymer membranes have been widely studied because of their excellent separation performance. Among them, polymers of intrinsic micro-porosity (PIMs) have been regarded as a potential next-generation membrane material for their ultra-permeable characteristics and their solution-processing ability. Therefore, many reviews have been reported on gas separation and monomers for the preparation of PIMs. This review aims to provide an overview of the structure-solubility property. Different structures such as non-network and network macromolecular structure made of different monomers have been reviewed. Then their solubility with different structures and different separation applications such as nanofiltration, pervaporation, and gas/vapor separation are summarized. Lastly, we also provide our perspectives on the challenges and future directions of the microporous polymer membrane for the structure-property relationship, anti-physical aging, and more. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Open AccessReview Short Review on Porous Metal Membranes—Fabrication, Commercial Products, and Applications
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
Porous metal membranes have recently received increasing attention, and significant progress has been made in their preparation and characterisation. This progress has stimulated research in their applications in a number of key industries including wastewater treatment, dairy processing, wineries, and biofuel purification. This [...] Read more.
Porous metal membranes have recently received increasing attention, and significant progress has been made in their preparation and characterisation. This progress has stimulated research in their applications in a number of key industries including wastewater treatment, dairy processing, wineries, and biofuel purification. This review examines recent significant progress in porous metal membranes including novel fabrication concepts and applications that have been reported in open literature or obtained in our laboratories. The advantages and disadvantages of the different membrane fabrication methods were presented in light of improving the properties of current membrane materials for targeted applications. Sintering of particles is one of the main approaches that has been used for the fabrication of commercial porous metal membranes, and it has great advantages for the fabrication of hollow fibre metal membranes. However, sintering processes usually result in large pores (e.g., >1 µm). So far, porous metal membranes have been mainly used for the filtration of liquids to remove the solid particles. For porous metal membranes to be more widely used across a number of separation applications, particularly for water applications, further work needs to focus on the development of smaller pore (e.g., sub-micron) metal membranes and the significant reduction of capital and maintenance costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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Open AccessReview Plasma Modification and Synthesis of Membrane Materials—A Mechanistic Review
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Although commercial membranes are well established materials for water desalination and wastewater treatment, modification on commercial membranes is still necessary to deliver high-performance with enhanced flux and/or selectivity and fouling resistance. A modification method with plasma techniques has been extensively applied for high-performance [...] Read more.
Although commercial membranes are well established materials for water desalination and wastewater treatment, modification on commercial membranes is still necessary to deliver high-performance with enhanced flux and/or selectivity and fouling resistance. A modification method with plasma techniques has been extensively applied for high-performance membrane production. The paper presents a mechanistic review on the impact of plasma gas and polymerization, at either low pressure or atmospheric pressure on the material properties and performance of the modified membranes. At first, plasma conditions at low-pressure such as plasma power, gas or monomer flow rate, reactor pressure, and treatment duration which affect the chemical structure, surface hydrophilicity, morphology, as well as performance of the membranes have been discussed. The underlying mechanisms of plasma gas and polymerization have been highlighted. Thereafter, the recent research in plasma techniques toward membrane modification at atmospheric environment has been critically evaluated. The research focuses of future plasma-related membrane modification, and fabrication studies have been predicted to closely relate with the implementation of the atmospheric-pressure processes at the large-scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Membranes)
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