Special Issue "Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Spas D. Kolev

School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +61 3 83447931
Interests: ion-exchange and liquid membranes, membrane applications in passive sampling, flow analysis, water treatment, chemical sensing, synthesis of metal nanoparticles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To celebrate the seventh year of the publication of Membranes, I have the honor to edit a new Special Issue. The Special Issue will collect original research papers from the frontiers of membrane research, as well as review articles from prominent scholars, highlighting the state-of-the-art of membrane science and technology. I invite researchers and technologists, whose work focuses on membranes and related applications, to contribute with papers disseminating their excellent research findings. We are looking forward to receiving your work.

Prof. Dr. Spas D. Kolev
Guest Editor

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 (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Performance and Fouling Study of Asymmetric PVDF Membrane Applied in the Concentration of Organic Fertilizer by Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD)
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
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Abstract
This study proposes using membrane distillation (MD) as an alternative to the conventional multi-stage flushing (MSF) process to concentrate a semi-product of organic fertilizer. By applying a unique asymmetric polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane, which was specifically designed for MD applications using a nonsolvent [...] Read more.
This study proposes using membrane distillation (MD) as an alternative to the conventional multi-stage flushing (MSF) process to concentrate a semi-product of organic fertilizer. By applying a unique asymmetric polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane, which was specifically designed for MD applications using a nonsolvent thermally induced phase separation (NTIPS) method, the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performance was investigated in terms of its sustainability in permeation flux, fouling resistance, and anti-wetting properties. It was found that the permeation flux increased with increasing flow rate, while the top-surface facing feed mode was the preferred orientation to achieve 25% higher flux than the bottom-surface facing feed mode. Compared to the commercial polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane, the asymmetric PVDF membrane exhibited excellent anti-fouling and sustainable flux, with less than 8% flux decline in a 15 h continuous operation, i.e., flux decreased slightly and was maintained as high as 74 kg·m−2·h−1 at 70 °C. Meanwhile, the lost flux was easily recovered by clean water rinsing. Overall 2.6 times concentration factor was achieved in 15 h MD operation, with 63.4% water being removed from the fertilizer sample. Further concentration could be achieved to reach the desired industrial standard of 5x concentration factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle PES-Kaolin Mixed Matrix Membranes for Arsenic Removal from Water
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 16 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this work was the fabrication and the characterization of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) for arsenic (As) removal from water. Membrane separation was combined with an adsorption process by incorporating the kaolin (KT2) Algerian natural clay in polymeric membranes. The effects [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was the fabrication and the characterization of mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) for arsenic (As) removal from water. Membrane separation was combined with an adsorption process by incorporating the kaolin (KT2) Algerian natural clay in polymeric membranes. The effects of casting solution composition was explored using different amounts of polyethersufone (PES) as a polymer, polyvinyl-pyrrolidone (PVP K17) and polyethylene glycol (PEG 200) as pore former agents, N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) as a solvent, and kaolin. Membranes were prepared by coupling Non-solvent Induced Phase Separation and Vapour Induced Phase Separation (NIPS and VIPS, respectively). The influence of the exposure time to controlled humid air and temperature was also investigated. The MMMs obtained were characterized in terms of morphology, pore size, porosity, thickness, contact angle and pure water permeability. Adsorption membrane-based tests were carried out in order to assess the applicability of the membranes produced for As removal from contaminated water. Among the investigated kaolin concentrations (ranging from 0 wt % to 5 wt %), a content of 1.25 wt % led to the MMM with the most promising performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Perfluorinated Compounds as Test Media for Porous Membranes
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
We suggest a failure-free method of porous membranes characterization that gives the researcher the opportunity to compare and characterize properties of any porous membrane. This proposal is supported by an investigation of eight membranes made of different organic and inorganic materials, with nine [...] Read more.
We suggest a failure-free method of porous membranes characterization that gives the researcher the opportunity to compare and characterize properties of any porous membrane. This proposal is supported by an investigation of eight membranes made of different organic and inorganic materials, with nine different perfluorinated compounds. It was found that aromatic compounds, perfluorobenzene, and perfluorotoluene, used in the current study show properties different from other perfluorinated aliphatics. They demonstrate extreme deviation from the general sequence indicating the existence of π-π-interaction on the pore wall. The divergence of the flow for cyclic compounds from ideal e.g., linear compounds can be an indication of the pore dimension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle Preparation of Porous Stainless Steel Hollow-Fibers through Multi-Modal Particle Size Sintering towards Pore Engineering
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 11 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The sintering of metal powders is an efficient and versatile technique to fabricate porous metal elements such as filters, diffusers, and membranes. Neck formation between particles is, however, critical to tune the porosity and optimize mass transfer in order to minimize the densification [...] Read more.
The sintering of metal powders is an efficient and versatile technique to fabricate porous metal elements such as filters, diffusers, and membranes. Neck formation between particles is, however, critical to tune the porosity and optimize mass transfer in order to minimize the densification process. In this work, macro-porous stainless steel (SS) hollow-fibers (HFs) were fabricated by the extrusion and sintering of a dope comprised, for the first time, of a bimodal mixture of SS powders. The SS particles of different sizes and shapes were mixed to increase the neck formation between the particles and control the densification process of the structure during sintering. The sintered HFs from particles of two different sizes were shown to be more mechanically stable at lower sintering temperature due to the increased neck area of the small particles sintered to the large ones. In addition, the sintered HFs made from particles of 10 and 44 μm showed a smaller average pore size (<1 μm) as compared to the micron-size pores of sintered HFs made from particles of 10 μm only and those of 10 and 20 μm. The novel HFs could be used in a range of applications, from filtration modules to electrochemical membrane reactors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nanofiltration and Tight Ultrafiltration Membranes for Natural Organic Matter Removal—Contribution of Fouling and Concentration Polarization to Filtration Resistance
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 2 July 2017
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Abstract
Nanofiltration (NF) and tight ultrafiltration (tight UF) membranes are a viable treatment option for high quality drinking water production from sources with high concentrations of contaminants. To date, there is limited knowledge regarding the contribution of concentration polarization (CP) and fouling to the [...] Read more.
Nanofiltration (NF) and tight ultrafiltration (tight UF) membranes are a viable treatment option for high quality drinking water production from sources with high concentrations of contaminants. To date, there is limited knowledge regarding the contribution of concentration polarization (CP) and fouling to the increase in resistance during filtration of natural organic matter (NOM) with NF and tight UF. Filtration tests were conducted with NF and tight UF membranes with molecular weight cut offs (MWCOs) of 300, 2000 and 8000 Da, and model raw waters containing different constituents of NOM. When filtering model raw waters containing high concentrations of polysaccharides (i.e., higher molecular weight NOM), the increase in resistance was dominated by fouling. When filtering model raw waters containing humic substances (i.e., lower molecular weight NOM), the increase in filtration resistance was dominated by CP. The results indicate that low MWCO membranes are better suited for NOM removal, because most of the NOM in surface waters consist mainly of humic substances, which were only effectively rejected by the lower MWCO membranes. However, when humic substances are effectively rejected, CP can become extensive, leading to a significant increase in filtration resistance by the formation of a cake/gel layer at the membrane surface. For this reason, cross-flow operation, which reduces CP, is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Poly(vinylbenzylchloride) Based Anion-Exchange Blend Membranes (AEBMs): Influence of PEG Additive on Conductivity and Stability
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
In view of the many possible applications such as fuel cells and electrolysers, recent interest in novel anion exchange membranes (AEMs) has increased significantly. However, their low conductivity and chemical stability limits their current suitability. In this study, the synthesis and characterization of [...] Read more.
In view of the many possible applications such as fuel cells and electrolysers, recent interest in novel anion exchange membranes (AEMs) has increased significantly. However, their low conductivity and chemical stability limits their current suitability. In this study, the synthesis and characterization of several three- and four-component anion exchange blend membranes (AEBMs) is described, where the compositions have been systematically varied to study the influence of the AEBM’s composition on the anion conductivities as well as chemical and thermal stabilities under strongly alkaline conditions. It was shown that the epoxide-functionalized poly(ethylene glycol)s that were introduced into the four-component AEBMs resulted in increased conductivity as well as a marked improvement in the stability of the AEBMs in an alkaline environment. In addition, the thermal stability of the novel AEBMs was excellent showing the suitability of these membranes for several electrochemical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Thin Film Nanocomposite Membrane Filled with Metal-Organic Frameworks UiO-66 and MIL-125 Nanoparticles for Water Desalination
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract
Knowing that the world is facing a shortage of fresh water, desalination, in its different forms including reverse osmosis, represents a practical approach to produce potable water from a saline source. In this report, two kinds of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) nanoparticles (NPs), UiO-66 [...] Read more.
Knowing that the world is facing a shortage of fresh water, desalination, in its different forms including reverse osmosis, represents a practical approach to produce potable water from a saline source. In this report, two kinds of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) nanoparticles (NPs), UiO-66 (~100 nm) and MIL-125 (~100 nm), were embedded separately into thin-film composite membranes in different weight ratios, 0%, 0.05%, 0.1%, 0.15%, 0.2%, and 0.3%. The membranes were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) of m-phenylenediamine (MPD) in aqueous solution and trimesoyl chloride (TMC) in an organic phase. The as-prepared membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle measurement, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) spectroscopy, and salt rejection and water flux assessments. Results showed that both UiO-66 and MIL-125 could improve the membranes’ performance and the impacts depended on the NPs loading. At the optimum NPs loadings, 0.15% for UiO-66 and 0.3% for MIL-125, the water flux increased from 62.5 L/m2 h to 74.9 and 85.0 L/m2 h, respectively. NaCl rejection was not significantly affected (UiO-66) or slightly improved (MIL-125) by embedding these NPs, always at >98.5% as tested at 2000 ppm salt concentration and 300 psi transmembrane pressure. The results from this study demonstrate that it is promising to apply MOFs NPs to enhance the TFC membrane performance for desalination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Membranes of Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIM-1) Modified by Poly(ethylene glycol)
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
Until now, the leading polymer of intrinsic microporosity PIM-1 has become quite famous for its high membrane permeability for many gases in gas separation, linked, however, to a rather moderate selectivity. The combination with the hydrophilic and low permeable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and [...] Read more.
Until now, the leading polymer of intrinsic microporosity PIM-1 has become quite famous for its high membrane permeability for many gases in gas separation, linked, however, to a rather moderate selectivity. The combination with the hydrophilic and low permeable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(ethylene oxides) (PEO) should on the one hand reduce permeability, while on the other hand enhance selectivity, especially for the polar gas CO2 by improving the hydrophilicity of the membranes. Four different paths to combine PIM-1 with PEG or poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) were studied: physically blending, quenching of polycondensation, synthesis of multiblock copolymers and synthesis of copolymers with PEO/PPO side chain. Blends and new, chemically linked polymers were successfully formed into free standing dense membranes and measured in single gas permeation of N2, O2, CO2 and CH4 by time lag method. As expected, permeability was lowered by any substantial addition of PEG/PEO/PPO regardless the manufacturing process and proportionally to the added amount. About 6 to 7 wt % of PEG/PEO/PPO added to PIM-1 halved permeability compared to PIM-1 membrane prepared under similar conditions. Consequently, selectivity from single gas measurements increased up to values of about 30 for CO2/N2 gas pair, a maximum of 18 for CO2/CH4 and 3.5 for O2/N2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Fabrication of Defect-Free Cellulose Acetate Hollow Fibers by Optimization of Spinning Parameters
Received: 15 April 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
Spinning of cellulose acetate (CA) with the additive polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent under different conditions was investigated. The spinning parameters of air gap, bore fluid composition, flow rate of bore fluid, and quench bath temperature were optimized based on the [...] Read more.
Spinning of cellulose acetate (CA) with the additive polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent under different conditions was investigated. The spinning parameters of air gap, bore fluid composition, flow rate of bore fluid, and quench bath temperature were optimized based on the orthogonal experiment design (OED) method and multivariate analysis. FTIR and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize the membrane structure and morphology. Based on the conjoint analysis in Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software, the importance of these parameters was identified as: air gap > bore fluid composition > flow rate of bore fluid > quench bath temperature. The optimal spinning condition with the bore fluid (water + NMP (85%)), air gap (25 mm), flow rate of bore fluid (40% of dope rate), and temperature of quench bath (50 °C) was identified to make high PVP content, symmetric cross-section and highly cross-linked CA hollow fibers. The results can be used to guide the spinning of defect-free CA hollow fiber membranes with desired structures and properties as carbon membrane precursors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Short Review on Predicting Fouling in RO Desalination
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane fouling is one of the main challenges that membrane manufactures, the scientific community and industry professionals have to deal with. The consequences of this inevitable phenomenon have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination system. Predicting fouling [...] Read more.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane fouling is one of the main challenges that membrane manufactures, the scientific community and industry professionals have to deal with. The consequences of this inevitable phenomenon have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination system. Predicting fouling in RO systems is key to evaluating the long-term operating conditions and costs. Much research has been done on fouling indices, methods, techniques and prediction models to estimate the influence of fouling on the performance of RO systems. This paper offers a short review evaluating the state of industry knowledge in the development of fouling indices and models in membrane systems for desalination in terms of use and applicability. Despite major efforts in this field, there are gaps in terms of effective methods and models for the estimation of fouling in full-scale RO desalination plants. In existing models applied to full-scale RO desalination plants, neither the spacer geometry of membranes, nor the efficiency and frequency of chemical cleanings are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessReview The Role of Ion Exchange Membranes in Membrane Capacitive Deionisation
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) are unique in combining the electrochemical properties of ion exchange resins and the permeability of a membrane. They are being used widely to treat industrial effluents, and in seawater and brackish water desalination. Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is an emerging, [...] Read more.
Ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) are unique in combining the electrochemical properties of ion exchange resins and the permeability of a membrane. They are being used widely to treat industrial effluents, and in seawater and brackish water desalination. Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is an emerging, energy efficient technology for brackish water desalination in which these ion-exchange membranes act as selective gates allowing the transport of counter-ions toward carbon electrodes. This article provides a summary of recent developments in the preparation, characterization, and performance of ion exchange membranes in the MCDI field. In some parts of this review, the most relevant literature in the area of electrodialysis (ED) is also discussed to better elucidate the role of the ion exchange membranes. We conclude that more work is required to better define the desalination performance of the proposed novel materials and cell designs for MCDI in treating a wide range of feed waters. The extent of fouling, the development of cleaning strategies, and further techno-economic studies, will add value to this emerging technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessReview Electro-Conductive Membranes for Permeation Enhancement and Fouling Mitigation: A Short Review
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
The research on electro-conductive membranes has expanded in recent years. These membranes have strong prospective as key components in next generation water treatment plants because they are engineered in order to enhance their performance in terms of separation, flux, fouling potential, and permselectivity. [...] Read more.
The research on electro-conductive membranes has expanded in recent years. These membranes have strong prospective as key components in next generation water treatment plants because they are engineered in order to enhance their performance in terms of separation, flux, fouling potential, and permselectivity. The present review summarizes recent developments in the preparation of electro-conductive membranes and the mechanisms of their response to external electric voltages in order to obtain an improvement in permeation and mitigation in the fouling growth. In particular, this paper deals with the properties of electro-conductive polymers and the preparation of electro-conductive polymer membranes with a focus on responsive membranes based on polyaniline, polypyrrole and carbon nanotubes. Then, some examples of electro-conductive membranes for permeation enhancement and fouling mitigation by electrostatic repulsion, hydrogen peroxide generation and electrochemical oxidation will be presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seven Years of Membranes: Feature Paper 2017) Printed Edition available
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