Special Issue "Innovative and Functional Polymer Membranes: Development and Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 November 2022 | Viewed by 8622

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Claudia Ursino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National Research Council (ITM-CNR), Via P. Bucci, Cubo 17C, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; hollow fibers; membranes preparation and characterization; coating; nanocomposite membranes; desalination; membrane separation processes; membrane distillation; wastewater treatment; fluoropolymeric membranes
Dr. Alberto Figoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National Research Council, ITM-CNR, via P. Bucci, 17/C, 87036 Rende, CS, Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; sustainable membrane preparation; bio-polymeric membranes; flat membranes; hollow-fibers; nano fibers; membrane preparation; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesco Galiano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National esearch Council, ITM-CNR, via P. Bucci, 17/C, 87036 Rende, Cosenza, Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; hollow-fibers; membrane preparation; bio-polymeric membranes; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration; sustainable membrane preparation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, the membrane technology market has grown exponentially, thanks to the continuous improvements in membrane performance, module and process design. As we know, membranes offer several advantages as a clean and environmentally friendly technology; consequently, a strong motivation for advancing the membrane technology market is driving the research to novel membrane materials. In fact, the development of innovative polymer membranes plays a crucial role in the improvement of membranes technology, therefore, the design of an avant garde membrane represents a new challenge for the researchers.

This Special Issue on “Innovative and Functional Polymer Membranes: Development and Applications” seeks contributions to assess the state-of-the-art and future developments in the field of polymeric membrane materials and processes. Discussion on the use of innovative polymer membranes on both a laboratory and a pilot scale, their development, application and industrial exploitation, including the sustainability approach in polymeric membrane preparation, are welcome.

Authors are invited to submit their latest results and outcomes, including original papers and reviews to meet the growing demand on the development of innovative polymeric membranes.

Dr. Claudia Ursino
Dr. Alberto Figoli
Dr. Francesco Galiano
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 2200 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

  • Membrane preparation
  • Polymeric membranes
  • New solvents in membrane preparation
  • New polymers in membrane preparation
  • Hollow fibers
  • Nanocomposite membranes
  • Mixed-matrix membranes
  • Functionalized membranes
  • Biopolymers for membrane preparation
  • Renewable materials membrane preparation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Influence of the Zeolite ZSM-22 Precursor on a UF-PES Selective Substrate Layer for Salts Rejection
Membranes 2022, 12(6), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12060553 - 26 May 2022
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Abstract
Fabrication of the ZSM-22/Polyethersulfone (ZSM-22/PES) membranes as selective salt filters represent a growing membrane technological area in separation with the potential of high economic reward based on its low energy requirements. The incorporation of ZSM-22 zeolite material as additives into the PES polymer [...] Read more.
Fabrication of the ZSM-22/Polyethersulfone (ZSM-22/PES) membranes as selective salt filters represent a growing membrane technological area in separation with the potential of high economic reward based on its low energy requirements. The incorporation of ZSM-22 zeolite material as additives into the PES polymer matrix has the prospective advantage of combining both the zeolite and polymer features while overcoming the limitations associated with both materials. This work investigated the influence of the nature of the silica precursor on ZSM-22 zeolite hydrothermally synthesised using colloidal (C60) and fumed (C60) silica to Si/Al of 60. The successful synthesis of the highly crystalline zeolitic materials was confirmed through XRD, FTIR, and SEM with EDX. The ZSM-22 additives were directly dispersed into a PES polymeric matrix to form a casting solution for the preparation of the ZSM-22/PES selective substrate layers via a phase inversion method for salts rejection. The polymeric PES was selected as an organic network in which the content of the ZSM-22 zeolite (ranging between 0 and 1.0 wt.%), was obtained and characterised by XRD, FTIR, and SEM analysis, as well as water contact angle (WCA) measurement and dead-end filtration cell. The phase inversion preparation method has induced the resulting ZSM-22/PES NF substrates anisotropy, as attributed to a high water flux to the above 700 L·m−2·h−1; high selectivity and rejection of salts to above 80% is revealed by the obtained results. The materials also exhibited improved antifouling behavior to above 70% flux recovery ratios. As such, the nature of the silica precursor influences ZSM-22 zeolite synthesis as a potential additive in the PES polymer matrix and led to the enhanced performance of the pure PES ultrafiltration membrane. Full article
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Article
Graphene-Coated PVDF Membranes: Effects of Multi-Scale Rough Structure on Membrane Distillation Performance
Membranes 2022, 12(5), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12050511 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 816
Abstract
Graphene-coated membranes for membrane distillation have been fabricated by using a wet-filtration approach. Graphene nanoplatelets have been deposited onto PVDF membrane surfaces. Morphology and physicochemical properties have been explored to evaluate the changes in the surface topography and related effects on the membrane [...] Read more.
Graphene-coated membranes for membrane distillation have been fabricated by using a wet-filtration approach. Graphene nanoplatelets have been deposited onto PVDF membrane surfaces. Morphology and physicochemical properties have been explored to evaluate the changes in the surface topography and related effects on the membrane performance in water desalination. The membranes have been tested in membrane distillation plants by using mixtures of sodium chloride and humic acid. The multi-scale rough structure of the surface has been envisaged to amplify the wetting and fouling resistance of the graphene-coated membranes so that a better flux and full salt rejection have been achieved in comparison with pristine PVDF. Total salt rejection and an increase of 77% in flux have been observed for coated membrane with optimized graphene content when worked with NaCl 0.6 M (DCMD, ΔT ≈ 24 °C) over a test period of 6 h. The experimental findings suggest these novel graphene-coated membranes as promising materials to develop functional membranes for high-performing water desalination. Full article
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Article
Study of Melamine-Formaldehyde/Phase Change Material Microcapsules for the Preparation of Polymer Films by Extrusion
Membranes 2022, 12(3), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12030266 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
n-Eicosane-melamine formaldehyde microcapsules of an average size of 1.1 μm and latent heat of fusion of 146.2 ± 5.3 J/g have been prepared. They have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, calorimetric techniques, and thermogravimetric analyses. Under processing conditions, the microcapsules [...] Read more.
n-Eicosane-melamine formaldehyde microcapsules of an average size of 1.1 μm and latent heat of fusion of 146.2 ± 5.3 J/g have been prepared. They have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, calorimetric techniques, and thermogravimetric analyses. Under processing conditions, the microcapsules apparently preserved their properties, also maintaining their n-eicosane loading and heat storage capacity under washing conditions (water with detergent at 60 °C). The microcapsules synthesis has been scaled up for the fabrication of functional films by extrusion. For that, polymer films containing 10 wt.% of microcapsules were prepared at a pilot plant level. In those films, even though a fraction of the n-eicosane loading was lost during the extrusion process, the microcapsules showed good compatibility within the polyamide. The percentage of PCM in the polyamide 6 films was estimated by TGA, verifying also the heat storage capacity predicted by DSC (2.6 ± 0.7 J/g). Full article
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Article
Fabrication of Gum Arabic-Graphene (GGA) Modified Polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) Mixed Matrix Membranes: A Systematic Evaluation Study for Ultrafiltration (UF) Applications
Membranes 2021, 11(7), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11070542 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
In the current work, a Gum, Arabic-modified Graphene (GGA), has been synthesized via a facile green method and employed for the first time as an additive for enhancement of the PPSU ultrafiltration membrane properties. A series of PPSU membranes containing very low (0–0.25) [...] Read more.
In the current work, a Gum, Arabic-modified Graphene (GGA), has been synthesized via a facile green method and employed for the first time as an additive for enhancement of the PPSU ultrafiltration membrane properties. A series of PPSU membranes containing very low (0–0.25) wt.% GGA were prepared, and their chemical structure and morphology were comprehensively investigated through atomic force microscopy (AFM), Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). Besides, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was harnessed to measure thermal characteristics, while surface hydrophilicity was determined by the contact angle. The PPSU-GGA membrane performance was assessed through volumetric flux, solute flux, and retention of sodium alginate solution as an organic polysaccharide model. Results demonstrated that GGA structure had been successfully synthesized as confirmed XRD patterns. Besides, all membranes prepared using low GGA content could impart enhanced hydrophilic nature and permeation characteristics compared to pristine PPSU membranes. Moreover, greater thermal stability, surface roughness, and a noticeable decline in the mean pore size of the membrane were obtained. Full article
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Article
High Performance Mixed-Matrix Electrospun Membranes for Ammonium Removal from Wastewaters
Membranes 2021, 11(6), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11060440 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Mixed-matrix electrospun membranes were developed to investigate ammonium removal from low ammonium concentration wastewaters for the first time. Particles derived from the inexpensive zeolite 13X were successfully incorporated into polyethersulfone (PES) matrices. The fabricated mixed-matrix electrospun membranes demonstrate high ammonium removal capacity reaching [...] Read more.
Mixed-matrix electrospun membranes were developed to investigate ammonium removal from low ammonium concentration wastewaters for the first time. Particles derived from the inexpensive zeolite 13X were successfully incorporated into polyethersulfone (PES) matrices. The fabricated mixed-matrix electrospun membranes demonstrate high ammonium removal capacity reaching over 55 mg/gzeolite, more than 2.5 times higher than the previously fabricated mixed-matrix membranes via non-solvent induced phase inversion. Moreover, the membranes fabricated exhibit high permeability and ease of regeneration. Over 90% of total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) can be removed from low TAN wastewaters such as aquaculture wastewaters. In addition to zeolite 13X, other zeolite particles including zeolite Y, zeolite 3A and 4A were also incorporated into the membrane matrix. The inexpensive zeolite 13X show the highest ammonium exchange capacity. Particle type, loading and the level of its dispersion all affect TAN removal capacity. Full article
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Article
Optimization of MCM-41 Mesoporous Material Mixed Matrix Polyethersulfone Membrane for Dye Removal
Membranes 2021, 11(6), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11060414 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
The aim of this work is the optimization of the operating conditions under which MCM-41-mesoporous material can be incorporated into polyethersulfone (PES)/MCM-41 membranes for nanofiltration (NF) applications. MCM-41 mesoporous material mixed matrix PES membranes have the potential to reduce membrane fouling by organic [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is the optimization of the operating conditions under which MCM-41-mesoporous material can be incorporated into polyethersulfone (PES)/MCM-41 membranes for nanofiltration (NF) applications. MCM-41 mesoporous material mixed matrix PES membranes have the potential to reduce membrane fouling by organic dye molecules. Process optimization and modeling aim to reduce wasted energy while maintaining high flow during the operation to handle the energy efficiency problems membranes often have. An optimization technique was applied to obtain optimum values for some key parameters in the process to produce a certain amount of flux above the desired values. Response surface methodology (RSM) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used as mathematical and statistical analyses to improve the performance of the process on a larger scale. This work investigated the influence of the operating parameters, such as the feed pH values (3–11), MCM-41 content (0–1 wt.%), and the feed dye concentration (10–100 ppm) for each of the two studied dyes, acid black 210 (AB-210) and rose bengal (RB), and their interactions on the PES membrane permeability. The results showed that the PES membrane had the best performance at 64.25 (L·m−2·h−1·bar-1) and 63.16 (L·m−2·h−1·bar-1) for the AB-210 and RB dyes, respectively. An MCM-41 content of nearly 0.8 wt.% in the casting solution, feed dye concentration of 10 ppm for the studied dyes, and feed pH of 3 for the RB dye was found to be the optimal parameters for eliciting the response. The pH had no significant influence on the response for the AB-210 dye, while the pH shows some minor effects on response with the RB dye, and the Pareto chart of the standardized effects on the permeation flux of both dyes using statistically significant at the 5% significance level support these results. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Use of Polymer Membranes to Counteract the Risk of Environmental of Soil and Water Contamination
Membranes 2021, 11(6), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11060426 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1404
Abstract
Chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) contamination of the environment is a significant threat to human health and life as well as environmental safety. It is then necessary to take actions aimed at minimizing and eliminating the threat. Depending on the type of [...] Read more.
Chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) contamination of the environment is a significant threat to human health and life as well as environmental safety. It is then necessary to take actions aimed at minimizing and eliminating the threat. Depending on the type of contamination, various methods are used, including sorption, biodegradation, separation, or ion exchange processes in which membranes play an important role. The type of membrane is selected in respect of both the environment and the type of neutralized pollutants. Therefore, the production and modification of membranes are being adapted to the type of contamination and the purpose of the work. This article presents examples of membranes and their possible applications depending on the part of the environment subject to reclamation and the type of contamination. Full article
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