Special Issue "Nanocomposite Membranes"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Klaus Rätzke

Technische Fakultät der Universität Kiel, Institut für Materialwissenschaft, Materialverbunde, Kaiserstr. 2, D-24143 Kiel, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +49 431 880 6227
Fax: +49 431 880 6229
Interests: polymeric membranes; gas separation; pervoration; free volume; transport through membranes; polymer nanocomposite membranes; characterization of polymer membranes
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Boguslaw Kruczek

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 613 562 5800
Fax: +1 613 562 5172
Interests: gas separation; reverse osmosis; forward osmosis; nanocomposite membranes; zeolite membranes; membrane characterization systems; time lag methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membrane separation processes are emerging in various water treatment and gas separation applications. Polymeric membranes offer many advantages, as polymers are easy to handle and modify, are flexible, and their upscaling from a laboratory-level to pilot and industrial-scale installations is highly feasible. Nevertheless, obstacles hindering further growth of polymeric membrane technology, still exist. A trade-off between membrane permeability and selectivity with an upper limit known as Robeson boundary, and physical aging, or, more generally, membrane stability, are the key challenges for polymeric gas separation membranes. On the other hand, for water desalination using polymeric, i.e. aromatic polyamide thin film composite (TFC) membranes, low water permeance and insufficient salt rejection, as well as membrane fouling and poor tolerance to chlorine, are the main challenges.  

One strategy to overcome these challenges in both gas separation and desalination applications is to incorporate a second phase, either in the form of nanoparticles or by including low molecular substances. In the case of nanocomposite gas separation membranes, deviation of permeability, solubility, and diffusivity from simple mixing rules have been reported. These observations may have been caused as a consequence of a variety of effects, ranging from higher free volumes, variations in solubility, or a different microstructure of the matrix. In the case of water desalination, incorporation of hydrophilic nanoparticles in the selective polyamide layer is a strategy used to enhance the performance and physiochemical properties of the resulting thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes.

This Special Issue focuses on recent advances in the development of novel nanoparticles, and the preparation and characterization of the resulting nanocomposite membranes for gas separation and water treatment applications.

Authors are, therefore, invited to submit their latest results. Original papers, communications and reviews are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Rätzke
Prof. Dr. Boguslaw Kruczek
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.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Gas Transport Properties of Poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide)–Silica Nanocomposite Membranes
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040125
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
The emulsion polymerized mixed matrix (EPMM) method is a new approach to prepare nanocomposite membranes, in which inorganic nanoparticles are synthesized in situ at the interface of a dispersed aqueous phase in a continuous phase of polymer solution. In this paper, we report [...] Read more.
The emulsion polymerized mixed matrix (EPMM) method is a new approach to prepare nanocomposite membranes, in which inorganic nanoparticles are synthesized in situ at the interface of a dispersed aqueous phase in a continuous phase of polymer solution. In this paper, we report the synthesis and characterization of poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO)-based EPMM membranes, in which silica nanoparticles are synthesized by the polymerization of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) in the presence of two different co-solvents, ethanol and acetone, which are soluble in both the aqueous phase and the polymer solution. The EPPM membranes prepared in the presence of acetone show greater conversions of TEOS and a different structure of the synthesized silica nanoparticles compared to the EPMM membranes prepared in the presence of ethanol. The former membranes are both more permeable and more selective for O2/N2 and CO2/CH4. Both types of EPMM membranes are more permeable than the reference PPO membranes. However, while their O2/N2 selectivity is practically unchanged, their CO2/CH4 selectivity is decreased compared to the reference PPO membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Role of Nanocomposite Support Stiffness on TFC Membrane Water Permeance
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040111
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 18 November 2018
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Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Engineering the Surface and Mechanical Properties of Water Desalination Membranes Using Ultralong Carbon Nanotubes
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040106
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 7 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
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Abstract
In this work, novel polysulphone (PS) porous membranes for water desalination, incorporated with commercial and produced carbon nanotubes (CNT), were fabricated and analyzed. It was demonstrated that changing the main characteristics of CNT (e.g., loading in the dope solutions, aspect ratio, and functionality) [...] Read more.
In this work, novel polysulphone (PS) porous membranes for water desalination, incorporated with commercial and produced carbon nanotubes (CNT), were fabricated and analyzed. It was demonstrated that changing the main characteristics of CNT (e.g., loading in the dope solutions, aspect ratio, and functionality) significantly affected the membrane properties and performance including porosity, water flux, and mechanical and surface properties. The water flux of the fabricated membranes increased considerably (up to 20 times) along with the increase in CNT loading. Conversely, yield stress and Young’s modulus of the membranes dropped with the increase in the CNT loading mainly due to porosity increase. It was shown that the elongation at fracture for PS/0.25 wt. % CNT membrane was much higher than for pristine PS membrane due to enhanced compatibility of commercial CNTs with PS matrix. More pronounced effect on membrane’s mechanical properties was observed due to compatibility of CNTs with PS matrix when compared to other factors (i.e., changes in the CNT aspect ratio). The water contact angle for PS membranes incorporated with commercial CNT sharply decreased from 73° to 53° (membrane hydrophilization) for membranes with 0.1 and 1.0 wt. % of CNTs, while for the same loading of produced CNTs the water contact angles for the membrane samples increased from 66° to 72°. The obtained results show that complex interplay of various factors such as: loading of CNT in the dope solutions, aspect ratio, and functionality of CNT. These features can be used to engineer membranes with desired properties and performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Separation of Organic Compounds from ABE Model Solutions via Pervaporation Using Activated Carbon/PDMS Mixed Matrix Membranes
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
The pervaporation separation of organic compounds from acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation model solutions was studied using activated carbon (AC) nanoparticle-poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) mixed matrix membranes (MMM). The effects of the operating conditions and nanoparticle loading content on the membrane performance have been investigated. While [...] Read more.
The pervaporation separation of organic compounds from acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation model solutions was studied using activated carbon (AC) nanoparticle-poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) mixed matrix membranes (MMM). The effects of the operating conditions and nanoparticle loading content on the membrane performance have been investigated. While the separation factor increased continuously, with an increase in the concentration of nanoparticles, the total flux reached a maximum in the MMM with 8 wt % nanoparticle loading in PDMS. Both the separation factor for ABE and the total permeation flux more than doubled for the MMM in comparison to those of neat PDMS membranes prepared in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization and Antibiofouling Performance Investigation of Hydrophobic Silver Nanocomposite Membranes: A Comparative Study
Received: 10 September 2017 / Revised: 26 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
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Abstract
Biofouling is one of the drawbacks restricting the industrial applications of membranes. In this study, different thicknesses of silver nanoparticles with proper adhesion were deposited on poly(vinylidenefluoride) (PVDF) and polyethersulfone (PES) surfaces by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The crystalline and structural properties of [...] Read more.
Biofouling is one of the drawbacks restricting the industrial applications of membranes. In this study, different thicknesses of silver nanoparticles with proper adhesion were deposited on poly(vinylidenefluoride) (PVDF) and polyethersulfone (PES) surfaces by physical vapor deposition (PVD). The crystalline and structural properties of modified and pure membranes were investigated by carrying out X-ray diffraction (XRD) and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analyses were employed to examine the surface morphology and the bacteria anti-adhesion property of the membranes. The morphology measurements confirmed that even though after silver grafting the surface became more hydrophobic, the homogeneity increased and the flux reduction decreased after coating. Moreover a comparison between PVDF and PES revealed that CFU (colony forming units) reduced 64.5% on PVDF surface and 31.1% on PES surface after modification. In conclusion, PVD improved the performance of the membrane antibiofouling, and it is more promising to be used for PVDF rather than PES. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Polymeric Nanocomposite Membranes for Next Generation Pervaporation Process: Strategies, Challenges and Future Prospects
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (5010 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pervaporation (PV) has been considered as one of the most active and promising areas in membrane technologies in separating close boiling or azeotropic liquid mixtures, heat sensitive biomaterials, water or organics from its mixtures that are indispensable constituents for various important chemical and [...] Read more.
Pervaporation (PV) has been considered as one of the most active and promising areas in membrane technologies in separating close boiling or azeotropic liquid mixtures, heat sensitive biomaterials, water or organics from its mixtures that are indispensable constituents for various important chemical and bio-separations. In the PV process, the membrane plays the most pivotal role and is of paramount importance in governing the overall efficiency. This article evaluates and collaborates the current research towards the development of next generation nanomaterials (NMs) and embedded polymeric membranes with regard to its synthesis, fabrication and application strategies, challenges and future prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposite Membranes)
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