Special Issue "Membranes: 10th Anniversary"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Spas D. Kolev
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Guest Editor
School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Interests: ion-exchange and liquid membranes, membrane applications in passive sampling, flow analysis, water treatment, chemical sensing, synthesis of metal nanoparticles
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Shiro Suetsugu
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Guest Editor
Division of Biological Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Interests: mechanisms of cell shaping and cell fate determination
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Prof. Dr. Giulio C. Sarti
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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile Chimica Ambientale e dei Materiali, Alma Mater Studiorum Universita di Bologna, Via Terracini, 28-I-40131 Bologna, Italy
Interests: gas separations; glassy polymers; bioseparations; affinity membranes; solubility; permeability; diffusivity
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Prof. Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao
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Guest Editor
Interests: polymers; polymer crystallization; nanocomposites; synchrotron x-ray scattering; nanofiber; nanocellulose; membrane; water purification
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Prof. Dr. Wojciech Kujawski
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemistry, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, 7, Gagarina Street, 87-100 Torun, Poland
Interests: pervaporation; membrane distillation; gas and vapor separation; nanofiltration; ceramic membranes; membrane modification; ionic liquids; biofuels; water and waste water treatment
Prof. Dr. Clàudia Fontàs
Website
Guest Editor
The University of Girona, Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: separation processes based on functionalized membranes; supported liquid membranes; polymer inclusion membranes; membrane systems for the clean-up of natural waters and industrial wastewaters; physico-chemical and electrical characterization of membranes; environmental and industrial sampling and analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that covers all aspects of membrane technology, including the preparation and characterization of membranes and their applications in water treatment, gas separation, energy sustainability, food technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries.

This year, Membranes will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Since its inaugural issue in 2011, it has published a great number of high-quality and high-impact articles, and consequently has established itself as one of the leading membrane science journals. This is reflected by its CiteScore (Scopus) of 3.28 and the fact that it is in the process of acquiring its first Impact Factor (Clarivate Analytics) later this year.

With great pleasure and pride, we would like to announce the publication of a Special 10th Anniversary Issue of Membranes to mark this important milestone in its development, and would like to invite the submission of original articles, short communications, and critical reviews in all areas of membrane research covered by the journal (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/membranes/about).

We are looking forward to receiving your valued contributions.

Prof. Spas D. Kolev (Editor-in-Chief)
Prof. Dr. Shiro Suetsugu (Section Editor-in-Chief, Membranes in Life Sciences)
Prof. Dr. Giulio C. Sarti (Section Editor-in-Chief, Membrane Modeling and Simulation)
Prof. Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao (Section Editor-in-Chief, Membrane Engineering and Applications)
Prof. Dr. Wojciech Kujawski (Section Editor-in-Chief, Fundamentals of Membrane Processes)
Prof. Dr. Clàudia Fontàs (Section Editor-in-Chief, Membrane Preparation and Characterization)
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 1800 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 (39 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Rifampicin-Loaded Alginate-Gelatin Fibers Incorporated within Transdermal Films as a Fiber-in-Film System for Wound Healing Applications
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11010007 - 23 Dec 2020
Abstract
The various biological and molecular cascades including different stages or phases such as inflammation, tissue proliferation, and remodeling phases, which significantly define the wound healing process. The natural matrix system is suggested to increase and sustain these cascades. Biocompatible biopolymers, sodium alginate and [...] Read more.
The various biological and molecular cascades including different stages or phases such as inflammation, tissue proliferation, and remodeling phases, which significantly define the wound healing process. The natural matrix system is suggested to increase and sustain these cascades. Biocompatible biopolymers, sodium alginate and gelatin, and a drug (Rifampicin) were used for the preparation of fibers into a physical crosslinking solution using extrusion-gelation. The formed fibers were then loaded in transdermal films for wound healing applications. Rifampicin, an antibiotic, antibacterial agent was incorporated into fibers and afterwards the fibers were loaded into transdermal films. Initially, rifampicin fibers were developed using biopolymers including alginate and gelatin, and were further loaded into polymeric matrix which led to the formation of transdermal films. The transdermal films were coded as TF1, TF2, TF3 and TF4.The characterization technique, FTIR, was used to describe molecular transitions within fibers, transdermal films, and was further corroborated using SEM and XRD. In mechanical properties, the parameters, such as tensile strength and elongation-at-break (extensibility), were found to be ranged between 2.32 ± 0.45 N/mm2 to 14.32 ± 0.98 N/mm2 and 15.2% ± 0.98% to 30.54% ± 1.08%. The morphological analysis firmed the development of fibers and fiber-loaded transdermal films. Additionally, physical evaluation such as water uptake study, water transmission rate, swelling index, moisture content, and moisture uptake study were executed to describe comparative interpretation of the formulations developed. In vivo studies were executed using a full thickness cutaneous wound healing model, the transdermal films developed showed higher degree of contraction, i.e., 98.85% ± 4.04% as compared to marketed formulation (Povidone). The fiber-in-film is a promising delivery system for loading therapeutic agents for effective wound care management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Microstructural Investigation and On-Site Repair of Thin Pd-Ag Alloy Membranes
Membranes 2020, 10(12), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10120384 - 30 Nov 2020
Abstract
Pd membranes act in an important role in H2 purification and H2 production in membrane reactors. Pd-Ag alloy membranes fabricated by consecutive electroless- and electroplating process on alumina tubes exhibited good stability under stringent heating/cooling cycles at a ramp rate of 10 K/min, [...] Read more.
Pd membranes act in an important role in H2 purification and H2 production in membrane reactors. Pd-Ag alloy membranes fabricated by consecutive electroless- and electroplating process on alumina tubes exhibited good stability under stringent heating/cooling cycles at a ramp rate of 10 K/min, imitating practical fast initiation or emergency shutdown conditions. Bilayer Pd-Ag membranes can form dense and uniform alloy after thermal treatment for 24 h at 823 K under H2 atmosphere, despite a porous structure due to the development of liquid-like properties above Tamman temperature to enforce the migrativity. On the contrary, alloying under N2 atmosphere resulted in a Pd-enriched layer. This led to a lower H2 flux but superior thermal stability compared to that alloying under H2 atmosphere. The trilayer approach of electroless-plated Pd, electro-polated Ag and electroless-plated Pd is not suitable to achieve homogeneous Pd-Ag alloys, which, on the other hand, presented the occurrence of a small gap between top Pd layer and middle Ag layer, probably due to insufficient wetting during plating process. An on-site repair treatment in analogous to MOCVD (Metal-organic Chemical Vapor Deposition) process was first proposed to extend the lifetime of Pd-Ag membrane, i.e., by vaporizing, and subsequent decomposition of Ag(OOCC2F5) powders to “preferentially” block the pinholes under vacuum and at working temperature of ca. 473–673 K, which effectively reduced the N2 flux by 57.4% compared to the initial value. The H2 flux, however, declined by 16.7% due to carbon deposition on the membrane surface, which requires further investigation. This approach shows some potential for on-site repair without disassembly or cooling to room temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Comparison of Spiral-Wound and Plate-and-Frame Forward Osmosis Membrane Module
Membranes 2020, 10(11), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10110318 - 30 Oct 2020
Abstract
We compared two representative forward osmosis (FO) modules—spiral-wound (SW) and plate-and-frame (PF)—to provide practical information for the selection of FO element for a large-scale FO process. The FO operating performance of commercially available SW FO and PF FO was explored under different membrane [...] Read more.
We compared two representative forward osmosis (FO) modules—spiral-wound (SW) and plate-and-frame (PF)—to provide practical information for the selection of FO element for a large-scale FO process. The FO operating performance of commercially available SW FO and PF FO was explored under different membrane area and flow rate conditions. The performance trend as a function of the membrane was obtained by adjusting the number of serially connected elements. Although SW FO and PF FO elements exhibited comparable feed pressure drops, SW FO demonstrated a significantly higher draw channel pressure drop than PF FO. Furthermore, the significant draw pressure drop in SW FO increased the draw inlet pressure, consequently limiting the number of serially connected elements. For example, the maximum number of serially connected elements for the normal operation was three elements for SW FO (45.9 m2) but nine elements for PF FO (63 m2) when the flow rate of 10 LMP was applied for feed and draw streams. Additionally, a footprint analysis indicated that SW FO module exhibited a slightly larger footprint than PF FO. Under investigated conditions, PF FO exhibited relatively better performance than SW FO. Therefore, this pilot-scale FO study highlighted the need to reduce the flow resistance of SW FO draw channel to take advantage of the high packing density of the SW element. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Amino Acid Cross-Linked Graphene Oxide Membranes for Metal Ions Permeation, Insertion and Antibacterial Properties
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100296 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Graphene oxide (GO) and its composite membranes have exhibited great potential for application in water purification and desalination. This article reports that a novel graphene oxide membrane (GOM) of ~5 µm thickness was fabricated onto a nylon membrane by vacuum filtration and cross-linked [...] Read more.
Graphene oxide (GO) and its composite membranes have exhibited great potential for application in water purification and desalination. This article reports that a novel graphene oxide membrane (GOM) of ~5 µm thickness was fabricated onto a nylon membrane by vacuum filtration and cross-linked by amino acids (L-alanine, L-phenylalanine, and serine). The GOM cross-linked by amino acids (GOM-A) exhibits excellent stability, high water flux, and high rejection to metal ions. The rejection coefficients to alkali and alkaline earth metal ions through GOM-A were over 94% and 96%, respectively. The rejection coefficients decreased with an increasing H+ concentration. Metal ions (K+, Ca2+, and Fe3+) can be inserted into GOM-A layers, which enlarges the interlayer spacing of GOM-A and neutralizes the electronegativity of the membrane, resulting in the decease in the rejection coefficients to metal ions. Meanwhile, GOM-A showed quite high antibacterial efficiency against E. coli. With the excellent performance as described above, GOM-A could be used to purify and desalt water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
An Efficient Method to Determine Membrane Molecular Weight Cut-Off Using Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100271 - 01 Oct 2020
Abstract
Membrane processes have revolutionized many industries because they are more energy and environmentally friendly than other separation techniques. This initial selection of the membrane for any application is based on its Molecular Weight Cut-Off (MWCO). However, there is a lack of a quantitative, [...] Read more.
Membrane processes have revolutionized many industries because they are more energy and environmentally friendly than other separation techniques. This initial selection of the membrane for any application is based on its Molecular Weight Cut-Off (MWCO). However, there is a lack of a quantitative, liable, and rapid method to determine the MWCO of the membrane. In this study, a methodology to determine the MWCO, based on the retention of fluorescent silica nanoparticles (NPs), is presented. Optimized experimental conditions (Transmembrane pressure, filtration duration, suspension concentration, etc.) have been performed on different membranes MWCO. Filtrations with suspension of fluorescent NPs of different diameters 70, 100, 200 and 300 nm have been examined. The NPs sizes were selected to cover a wide range in order to study NPs diameters larger, close to, and smaller than the membrane pore size. A particle tracking analysis with a nanosight allows us to calculate the retention curves at all times. The retention rate curves were shifted over the filtration process at different times due to the fouling. The mechanism of fouling of the retained NPs explains the determined value of the MWCO. The reliability of this methodology, which presents a rapid quantitative way to determine the MWCO, is in good agreement with the value given by the manufacturer. In addition, this methodology gives access to the retention curve and makes it possible to determine the MWCO as a function of the desired retention rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Pretreatment on Hydraulic Performance of the Integrated Membrane Process for Concentrating Nutrient in Biogas Digestate from Swine Manure
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100249 - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Nanofiltration (NF) or reverse osmosis (RO) process has been widely applied for concentrating nutrient in biogas digestate. However, efficient pretreatment is key to the sustainable operation of NF or RO. In this study, the combination of NF and RO for concentrating biogas digestate [...] Read more.
Nanofiltration (NF) or reverse osmosis (RO) process has been widely applied for concentrating nutrient in biogas digestate. However, efficient pretreatment is key to the sustainable operation of NF or RO. In this study, the combination of NF and RO for concentrating biogas digestate was compared using different pretreatments of hollow fiber ultrafiltration membrane (HFUFM) and ceramic membrane (CUFM). Pilot-scale batch tests were conducted (500 L). CUFM showed a higher membrane flux than HFUFM (100 ~ 180 L·(m2·h)−1 vs. 17 ~ 35 L·(m2·h)−1), but they showed little impact on the NF + RO process. Membrane fluxes of NF and RO were 20 ~ 48 L·(m2·h)−1 and 16 ~ 40 L·(m2·h)−1, respectively. In the RO permeates, the removal rates of total suspended solids (TSS), total solids (TS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total nitrogen (TN), NH4+-N, and Cl were above 91%. In the concentrates, TN and total potassium (TK) were concentrated by 1.60 and 2.00 folds in the NF stage, and by 2.10 and 2.30 folds in the RO stage. Further attention should be paid to the antibiotics risks in the concentrates before they are utilized as plant fertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Beverage–Drug Interaction: Effects of Green Tea Beverage Consumption on Atorvastatin Metabolism and Membrane Transporters in the Small Intestine and Liver of Rats
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090233 - 14 Sep 2020
Abstract
Green tea (GT) beverages are popular worldwide and may prevent the development of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. To investigate whether the consumption of a GT beverage causes drug interactions, the effects of GT beverage consumption on atorvastatin metabolism and [...] Read more.
Green tea (GT) beverages are popular worldwide and may prevent the development of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. To investigate whether the consumption of a GT beverage causes drug interactions, the effects of GT beverage consumption on atorvastatin metabolism and membrane transporters were evaluated. Male rats were fed a chow diet with tap water or the GT beverage for 3 weeks. Then, the rats were given a single oral dose (10 mg/kg body weight (BW)) of atorvastatin (ATV), and blood was collected at various time points within 6 h. The results show that GT consumption increased the plasma concentrations (AUC0–6h) of ATV (+85%) and 2-OH ATV (+93.3%). GT also increased the 2-OH ATV (+40.9%) and 4-OH ATV (+131.6%) contents in the liver. Decreased cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A enzyme activity, with no change in P-glycoprotein expression in the intestine, was observed in rats treated with GT. Additionally, GT increased hepatic CYP3A-mediated ATV metabolism and decreased organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATP) 2 membrane protein expression. There was no significant difference in the membrane protein expression of OATP2B1 and P-glycoprotein in the intestine and liver after the GT treatment. The results show that GT consumption may lower hepatic OATP2 and, thus, limit hepatic drug uptake and increase plasma exposure to ATV and 2-OH ATV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Poly[3-ethyl-1-vinyl-imidazolium] diethyl phosphate/Pebax® 1657 Composite Membranes and Their Gas Separation Performance
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090224 - 08 Sep 2020
Abstract
Poly(ionic liquid)s are an innovative class of materials with promising properties in gas separation processes that can be used to boost the neat polymer performances. Nevertheless, some of their properties such as stability and mechanical strength have to be improved to render them [...] Read more.
Poly(ionic liquid)s are an innovative class of materials with promising properties in gas separation processes that can be used to boost the neat polymer performances. Nevertheless, some of their properties such as stability and mechanical strength have to be improved to render them suitable as materials for industrial applications. This work explored, on the one hand, the possibility to improve gas transport and separation properties of the block copolymer Pebax® 1657 by blending it with poly[3-ethyl-1-vinyl-imidazolium] diethyl phosphate (PEVI-DEP). On the other hand, Pebax® 1657 served as a support for the PIL and provided mechanical resistance to the samples. Pebax® 1657/PEVI-DEP composite membranes containing 20, 40, and 60 wt.% of PEVI-DEP were cast from solutions of the right proportion of the two polymers in a water/ethanol mixture. The PEVI-DEP content affected both the morphology of the dense membranes and gas transport through the membranes. These changes were revealed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), time-lag, and gravimetric sorption measurements. Pebax® 1657 and PEVI-DEP showed similar affinity towards CO2, and its uptake or solubility was not influenced by the amount of PIL in the membrane. Therefore, the addition of the PIL did not lead to improvements in the separation of CO2 from other gases. Importantly, PEVI-DEP (40 wt.%) incorporation affected and improved permeability and selectivity by more than 50% especially for the separation of light gases, e.g., H2/CH4 and H2/CO2, but higher PEVI-DEP concentrations lead to a decline in the transport properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Continuous Production of Galacto-Oligosaccharides by an Enzyme Membrane Reactor Utilizing Free Enzymes
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090203 - 27 Aug 2020
Abstract
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are prebiotic compounds widely used for their health-promoting effects. Conventionally, GOS is produced by the enzymatic conversion of lactose in stirred tank reactors (STR). The high operational costs associated with enzyme inactivation and removal might be reduced by the application of [...] Read more.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are prebiotic compounds widely used for their health-promoting effects. Conventionally, GOS is produced by the enzymatic conversion of lactose in stirred tank reactors (STR). The high operational costs associated with enzyme inactivation and removal might be reduced by the application of enzyme membrane reactors (EMR). In this study, we aimed to assess the potential of continuous GOS production by EMR using soluble Biolacta N5, a Bacillus circulans-derived commercial enzyme preparation. The steady-state performance of the EMR equipped with an ultrafiltration module was investigated as function of residence time (1.1–2.8 h) and enzyme load (17–190 U·g−1) under fixed operational settings of temperature (50 °C), pH (6.0), lactose feed concentration (300 g·kg−1), and recirculation flow-rate (0.18 m3·h−1). Results indicate that the yield of oligosaccharides with higher degree of polymerization (DP3-6) in STR (approx. 38% on total carbohydrate basis) exceeds that measured in EMR (ranging from 24% to 33%). However, a stable catalytic performance without a significant deterioration in product quality was observed when operating the EMR for an extended period of time (>120 h). Approx. 1.4 kg of DP3-6 was produced per one gram of crude enzyme preparation over the long-term campaigns, indicating that EMR efficiently recovers enzyme activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Pebax® 2533/Graphene Oxide Nanocomposite Membranes for Carbon Capture
Membranes 2020, 10(8), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10080188 - 15 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this work, the behavior of new GO-based mixed matrix membranes was tested in view of their use as CO2-selective membrane in post combustion carbon capture applications. In particular, the new materials were obtained by mixing of Pebax® 2533 copolymer [...] Read more.
In this work, the behavior of new GO-based mixed matrix membranes was tested in view of their use as CO2-selective membrane in post combustion carbon capture applications. In particular, the new materials were obtained by mixing of Pebax® 2533 copolymer with different types of graphene oxide (GO). Pebax® 2533 has indeed lower selectivity, but higher permeability than Pebax® 1657, which is more commonly used for membranes, and it could therefore benefit from the addition of GO, which is endowed with very high selectivity of CO2 with respect to nitrogen. The mixed matrix membranes were obtained by adding different amounts of GO, from 0.02 to 1% by weight, to the commercial block copolymers. Porous graphene oxide (PGO) and GO functionalized with polyetheramine (PEAGO) were also considered in composites produced with similar procedure, with a loading of 0.02%wt. The obtained films were then characterized by using SEM, DSC, XPS analysis and permeability experiments. In particular, permeation tests with pure CO2 and N2 at 35°C and 1 bar of upstream pressure were conducted for the different materials to evaluate their separation performance. It has been discovered that adding these GO-based nanofillers to Pebax® 2533 matrix does not improve the ideal selectivity of the material, but it allows to increase CO2 permeability when a low filler content, not higher than 0.02 wt%, is considered. Among the different types of GO, then, porous GO seems the most promising as it shows CO2 permeability in the order of 400 barrer (with an increase of about 10% with respect to the unloaded block copolymer), obtained without reducing the CO2/N2 selectivity of the materials, which remained in the order of 25. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
WO3/Buckypaper Membranes for Advanced Oxidation Processes
Membranes 2020, 10(7), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10070157 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Photocatalytic materials, such as WO3, TiO2, and ZnO nanoparticles, are commonly linked onto porous polymer membranes for wastewater treatment, fouling mitigation and permeation enhancement. Buckypapers (BPs) are entanglements of carbon nanotubes, which have been recently proposed as innovative filtration [...] Read more.
Photocatalytic materials, such as WO3, TiO2, and ZnO nanoparticles, are commonly linked onto porous polymer membranes for wastewater treatment, fouling mitigation and permeation enhancement. Buckypapers (BPs) are entanglements of carbon nanotubes, which have been recently proposed as innovative filtration systems thanks to their mechanical, electronic, and thermal properties. In this work, flexible membranes of single wall carbon nanotubes are prepared and characterized as efficient substrates to deposit by chemical vapor deposition thin layers of WO3 and obtain, in such a way, WO3/BP composite membranes for application in advanced oxidation processes. The photocatalytic efficiency of WO3/BP composite membranes is tested against model pollutants in a small continuous flow reactor and compared with the performance of an equivalent homogeneous WO3-based reactor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Design as a Tool for Optimizing and Predicting the Nanofiltration Performance by Treating Antibiotic-Containing Wastewater
Membranes 2020, 10(7), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10070156 - 19 Jul 2020
Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increase in studies regarding nanofiltration-based processes for removing antibiotics and other pharmaceutical compounds from water and wastewater. In this work, a 2k factorial design with five control factors (antibiotic molecular weight and concentration, nanofiltration (NF) [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been an increase in studies regarding nanofiltration-based processes for removing antibiotics and other pharmaceutical compounds from water and wastewater. In this work, a 2k factorial design with five control factors (antibiotic molecular weight and concentration, nanofiltration (NF) membrane, feed flow rate, and transmembrane pressure) was employed to optimize the NF performance on the treatment of antibiotic-containing wastewater. The resulting multiple linear regression model was used to predict the antibiotic rejections and permeate fluxes. Additional experiments, using the same membranes and the same antibiotics, but under different conditions of transmembrane pressure, feed flow rate, and antibiotic concentration regarding the 2k factorial design were carried out to validate the model developed. The model was also evaluated as a tertiary treatment of urban wastewater for removing sulfamethoxazole and norfloxacin. Considering all the conditions investigated, the tightest membrane (NF97) showed higher antibiotics rejection (>97%) and lower permeate fluxes. On the contrary, the loose NF270 membrane presented lower rejections to sulfamethoxazole, the smallest antibiotic, varying from 65% to 97%, and permeate fluxes that were about three-fold higher than the NF97 membrane. The good agreement between predicted and experimental values (R2 > 0.97) makes the model developed in the present work a tool to predict the NF performance when treating antibiotic-containing wastewater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrophilic Dual Layer Hollow Fiber Membranes for Ultrafiltration
Membranes 2020, 10(7), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10070143 - 06 Jul 2020
Abstract
In this study, a triblock copolymer was used as additive to fabricate new dual layer hollow fiber membranes with a hydrophilic active inner surface in order to improve their fouling resistance. The polymeric components of the solutions for membrane fabrication were poly(ether sulfone), [...] Read more.
In this study, a triblock copolymer was used as additive to fabricate new dual layer hollow fiber membranes with a hydrophilic active inner surface in order to improve their fouling resistance. The polymeric components of the solutions for membrane fabrication were poly(ether sulfone), poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidone), and the triblock copolymer. The additive consists of three blocks: a middle hydrophobic poly(ether sulfone) block and two outer hydrophilic alkyl poly(ethylene glycol) blocks. By varying the additive concentration in the solutions, it was possible to fabricate dual layer hollow fiber membranes that are characterized by a hydrophilic inner layer, a pure water permeance of over 1800 L/(m2 bar h) and a molecular weight cut-off of 100 kDa similar to commercial membranes. Contact angle and composition determination by XPS measurements revealed the hydrophilic character of the membranes, which improved with increasing additive concentration. Rheological, dynamic light scattering, transmission, and cloud point experiments elucidated the molecular interaction, precipitation, and spinning behavior of the solutions. The low-molecular weight additive reduces the solution viscosity and thus the average relaxation time. On the contrary, slow processes appear with increasing additive concentration in the scattering data. Furthermore, phase separation occurred at a lower non-solvent concentration and the precipitation time increased with increasing additive content. These effects revealed a coupling mechanism of the triblock copolymer with poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidone) in solution. The chosen process parameters as well as the additive solutions provide an easy and inexpensive way to create an antifouling protection layer in situ with established recipes of poly(ether sulfone) hollow fiber membranes. Therefore, the membranes are promising candidates for fast integration in the membrane industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
In-Situ Combination of Bipolar Membrane Electrodialysis with Monovalent Selective Anion-Exchange Membrane for the Valorization of Mixed Salts into Relatively High-Purity Monoprotic and Diprotic Acids
Membranes 2020, 10(6), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10060135 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The crystalized mixed salts from the zero liquid discharge process are a hazardous threat to the environment. In this study, we developed a novel electrodialysis (SBMED) method by assembling the monovalent selective anion-exchange membrane (MSAEM) into the bipolar membrane electrodialysis (BMED) stack. By [...] Read more.
The crystalized mixed salts from the zero liquid discharge process are a hazardous threat to the environment. In this study, we developed a novel electrodialysis (SBMED) method by assembling the monovalent selective anion-exchange membrane (MSAEM) into the bipolar membrane electrodialysis (BMED) stack. By taking the advantages of water splitting in the bipolar membrane and high perm-selectivity of MSAEM for the Cl ions against the SO42− ions, this combination allows the concurrent separation of Cl/SO42− and conversion of mixed salts into relatively high-purity monoprotic and diprotic acids. The current density has a significant impact on the acid purity. Both the monoprotic and diprotic acid purities were higher than 80% at a low current density of 10 mA/cm2. The purities of the monoprotic acids decreased with an increase in the current density, indicating that the perm-selectivity of MSAEM decreases with increasing current density. An increase in the ratio of monovalent to divalent anions in the feed was beneficial to increase the purity of monoprotic acids. High-purity monoprotic acids in the range of 93.9–96.1% were obtained using this novel SBMED stack for treating simulated seawater. Therefore, it is feasible for SBMED to valorize the mixed salts into relatively high-purity monoprotic and diprotic acids in one step. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Hollow Fiber Membranes for the Biofabrication of a Vascularized Human Liver Tissue
Membranes 2020, 10(6), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10060112 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The creation of a liver tissue that recapitulates the micro-architecture and functional complexity of a human organ is still one of the main challenges of liver tissue engineering. Here we report on the development of a 3D vascularized hepatic tissue based on biodegradable [...] Read more.
The creation of a liver tissue that recapitulates the micro-architecture and functional complexity of a human organ is still one of the main challenges of liver tissue engineering. Here we report on the development of a 3D vascularized hepatic tissue based on biodegradable hollow fiber (HF) membranes of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) that compartmentalize human hepatocytes on the external surface and between the fibers, and endothelial cells into the fiber lumen. To this purpose, PCL HF membranes were prepared by a dry-jet wet phase inversion spinning technique tailoring the operational parameters in order to obtain fibers with suitable properties. After characterization, the fibers were applied to generate a human vascularized hepatic unit by loading endothelial cells in their inner surface and hepatocytes on the external surface. The unit was connected to a perfusion system, and the morpho-functional behavior was evaluated. The results demonstrated the large integration of endothelial cells with the internal surface of individual PCL fibers forming vascular-like structures, and hepatocytes covered completely the external surface and the space between fibers. The perfused 3D hepatic unit retained its functional activity at high levels up to 18 days. This bottom-up tissue engineering approach represents a rational strategy to create relatively 3D vascularized tissues and organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Improved Surface Functional and Photocatalytic Properties of Hybrid ZnO-MoS2-Deposited Membrane for Photocatalysis-Assisted Dye Filtration
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050106 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The synergistic mechanism of photocatalytic-assisted dye degradation has been demonstrated using a hybrid ZnO-MoS2-deposited photocatalytic membrane (PCM). Few layers of MoS2 sheets were produced using the facile and efficient surfactant-assisted liquid-phase exfoliation method. In this process, hydrophilic moieties of an [...] Read more.
The synergistic mechanism of photocatalytic-assisted dye degradation has been demonstrated using a hybrid ZnO-MoS2-deposited photocatalytic membrane (PCM). Few layers of MoS2 sheets were produced using the facile and efficient surfactant-assisted liquid-phase exfoliation method. In this process, hydrophilic moieties of an anionic surfactant were adsorbed on the surface of MoS2, which aided exfoliation and promoted a stable dispersion due to the higher negative zeta potential of the exfoliated MoS2 sheets. Further, the decoration of ZnO on the exfoliated MoS2 sheets offered a bandgap energy reduction to about 2.77 eV, thus achieving an 87.12% degradation of methylene blue (MB) dye within 15 min of near UV-A irradiation (365 nm), as compared with pristine ZnO achieving only 56.89%. The photocatalysis-enhanced membrane filtration studies on the ZnO-MoS2 PCM showed a complete removal of MB dye (~99.95%). The UV-assisted dye degradation on the ZnO-MoS2 PCM offered a reduced membrane resistance, with the permeate flux gradually improving with the increase in the UV-irradiation time. The regeneration of the active ZnO-MoS2 layer also proved to be quite efficient with no compromise in the dye removal efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Aquaporin-Containing Proteopolymersomes in Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Membranes
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050103 - 18 May 2020
Abstract
The field of membranes saw huge developments in the last decades with the introduction of both polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM)-based membranes and biomimetic membranes. In this work, we combine these two promising systems and demonstrate that proteopolymersomes (PP+) with the incorporated aquaporin protein can [...] Read more.
The field of membranes saw huge developments in the last decades with the introduction of both polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM)-based membranes and biomimetic membranes. In this work, we combine these two promising systems and demonstrate that proteopolymersomes (PP+) with the incorporated aquaporin protein can be distributed in a controlled fashion using PEMs, even on the inner surface of a hollow fiber membrane. In this way, various proteopolymersome multilayers (PPMs) are fabricated using PP+ as the positively charged species in combination with the polyanions poly(styrene 4-sulfonate) (PSS) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA). It is shown by reflectometry through alternately adsorbing the polyanions and PP+ that, for both PAA and PSS, a good layer growth is possible. However, when the multilayers are imaged by SEM, the PAA-based PPMs show dewetting, whereas vesicular structures can only be clearly observed in and on the PSS-based PPMs. In addition, membrane permeability decreases upon coating the PPMs to 2.6 L∙m−2∙h−1∙bar−1 for PAA/PP+ and 7.7 L∙m−2∙h−1∙bar−1 for PSS/PP+. Salt retentions show that PAA/PP+ layers are defective (salt retentions <10% and high molecular weight cut-off (MWCO)), in line with the observed dewetting behavior, while PPMs based on PSS show 80% MgSO4 retention in combination with a low MWCO. The PSS/PP+ membranes show a Donnan-exclusion behavior with moderate MgCl2 retention (50%–55%) and high Na2SO4 retention (85%–90%) indicating a high amount of negative charge present within the PPMs. The corresponding PEMs, on the other hand, are predominately positively charged with MgCl2 retention of 97%–98% and Na2SO4 retention of 57%–80%. This means that the charge inside the multilayer and, thus, its separation behavior can be changed when PP+ is used instead of a polycation. When comparing the PPM membranes to the literature, similar performances are observed with other biomimetic membranes that are not based on interfacial polymerization, but these are the only ones prepared using a desired hollow fiber geometry. Combining PEMs and biomimetic approaches can, thus, lead to relevant membranes, especially adding to the versatility of both systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Tailored CNTs Buckypaper Membranes for the Removal of Humic Acid and Separation of Oil-In-Water Emulsions
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050097 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a robust material and proven as a promising candidate for a wide range of electronic, optoelectronic and environmental applications. In this work, two different methods were utilized for the preparation of CNTs exhibiting different aspect ratios via chemical vapor [...] Read more.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a robust material and proven as a promising candidate for a wide range of electronic, optoelectronic and environmental applications. In this work, two different methods were utilized for the preparation of CNTs exhibiting different aspect ratios via chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The as-prepared CNTs were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), N2adsorption isotherms, thermogravimetric analysis and Raman spectroscopy in order to investigate their morphological and structural properties. Free-standing CNTs “buckypaper” membranes were fabricated, characterized and tailored to meet the requirements of two applications, i.e., (1) the removal of humic acid (HA) from water and (2) separation of oil-in-water emulsions. It was revealed that the hydrophobic buckypapers showed high separation performance for Shell oil-in-water emulsions filtration, with up to 98% through the accumulation of oil droplets onto the membrane surface. The absorption capacity of buckypaper membranes for various organic liquids (oil, chloroform and toluene) was evaluated over 10 absorption cycles to investigate their recyclability and robustness. Moreover, surface modification was introduced to the pristine CNTs to increase their surface hydrophilicity and improve the pure water permeability of buckypapers. These modified buckypapers showed high flux for HA solutions and excellent HA rejection efficiency up to 95%via size exclusion and electrostatic repulsion mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Fabrication and Characterization of Ice Templated Membrane Supports from Portland Cement
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050093 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
Porous ceramic membranes for aqueous microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes suffer from the high-costs of material and processing. The latter is mainly due to the high-temperature sintering step. In this work, cement-based membrane supports from ultrafine Portland cement are studied as a low-cost alternative [...] Read more.
Porous ceramic membranes for aqueous microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes suffer from the high-costs of material and processing. The latter is mainly due to the high-temperature sintering step. In this work, cement-based membrane supports from ultrafine Portland cement are studied as a low-cost alternative to traditional oxidic ceramic supports. An environmentally friendly freeze-casting fabrication route is applied for the fabrication of porous membrane supports. Cement membrane supports are becoming mechanically stabile after hydration reaction of cement with water, which does not require any high-temperature sintering step as in a conventional ceramic membrane fabrication process. This fabrication route, which is sintering-free, decreases the cost and environmental impact of the membrane fabrication process by eliminating extra energy consumption step during sintering. The Archimedes method, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), micro-computed tomographic (µCT), and mercury porosimetry characterize the membrane supports in respect to open porosity, pore size distribution, morphology, and connectivity. The flexural strength of the 3 mm thick membranes is in the range from 1 to 6 MPa, as obtained by the ring-on-ring tests. The obtained membrane supports possess porosity in the range between 48 and 73% depending on fabrication conditions (cooling rate and the solid content, as determined by Archimedes method enabling water flux in the range between 79 and 180 L/(h·m2) at 0.5 bar transmembrane pressure difference and 3 mm membrane thickness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Liposomes Loaded with the Proteasome Inhibitor Z-Leucinyl-Leucinyl-Norleucinal Are Effective in Inducing Apoptosis in Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050091 - 03 May 2020
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the main causes of cancer-related death in developed countries. Targeted therapies and conventional chemotherapeutics have been developed to help treat this type of aggressive cancer. Among these, the monoclonal antibodies cetuximab (Cxm) and panitumumab specifically target and [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the main causes of cancer-related death in developed countries. Targeted therapies and conventional chemotherapeutics have been developed to help treat this type of aggressive cancer. Among these, the monoclonal antibodies cetuximab (Cxm) and panitumumab specifically target and inactivate the signaling of ERBB1 (EGF receptor), a key player in the development and progression of this cancer. Unfortunately, these antibodies are effective only on a small fraction of patients due to primary or secondary/acquired resistance. However, as ERBB1 cell surface expression is often maintained in resistant tumors, ERBB1 can be exploited as a target to deliver other drugs. Liposomes and immunoliposomes are under intensive investigation as pharmaceutical nanocarriers and can be functionalized with specific antibodies. In this study, we first investigated the anti-cancer activity of a cell permeable tripeptide, leucine-leucin-norleucinal (LLNle), an inhibitor of gamma-secretase and proteasome, in three different CRC cell lines that express ERBB1. We formulated LLNle-liposomes and Cxm-conjugated LLNle-loaded liposomes (LLNle-immunoliposomes) and evaluated their efficacy in inhibiting cell survival. Despite similar pro-apoptotic effects of free LLNle and LLNle-liposomes, immunoliposomes-LLNle were significantly less effective than their unconjugated counterparts. Indeed, immunoliposomes-LLNle were readily internalized and trafficked to lysosomes, where LLNle was likely trapped and/or inactivated. In conclusion, we demonstrated that LLNle was readily delivered to CRC cell lines by liposomes, but immunoliposomes-LLNle failed to show significant anti-cancer activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Transport Properties and Mechanical Features of Sulfonated Polyether Ether Ketone/Organosilica Layered Materials Nanocomposite Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050087 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this work, we study the preparation of new sulfonated polyether ether ketone (sPEEK) nanocomposite membranes, containing highly ionic silica layered nanoadditives, as a low cost and efficient proton exchange membranes for fuel cell applications. To achieve the best compromise among mechanical strength, [...] Read more.
In this work, we study the preparation of new sulfonated polyether ether ketone (sPEEK) nanocomposite membranes, containing highly ionic silica layered nanoadditives, as a low cost and efficient proton exchange membranes for fuel cell applications. To achieve the best compromise among mechanical strength, dimensional stability and proton conductivity, sPEEK polymers with different sulfonation degree (DS) were examined. Silica nanoplatelets, decorated with a plethora of sulfonic acid groups, were synthesized through the one-step process, and composite membranes at 1, 3 and 5 wt% of filler loadings were prepared by a simple casting procedure. The presence of ionic layered additives improves the mechanical strength, the water retention capacity and the transport properties remarkably. The nanocomposite membrane with 5% wt of nanoadditive exhibited an improvement of tensile strength almost 160% (68.32 MPa,) with respect to pristine sPEEK and a ten-times higher rate of proton conductivity (12.8 mS cm−1) under very harsh operative conditions (i.e., 90 °C and 30% RH), compared to a filler-free membrane. These findings represent a significant advance as a polymer electrolyte or a fuel cell application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Strongly Selective Polymer Membranes Modified with Heteroarm Stars for the Ethylene Glycol Dehydration by Pervaporation
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050086 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Hybrid membranes based on poly (2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) modified with heteroarm stars (HAS) were developed to separate ethylene glycol/water mixtures by pervaporation. The HAS consist of a small branching center fullerene C 60 and twelve arms of different nature, six arms of nonpolar polystyrene [...] Read more.
Hybrid membranes based on poly (2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) modified with heteroarm stars (HAS) were developed to separate ethylene glycol/water mixtures by pervaporation. The HAS consist of a small branching center fullerene C 60 and twelve arms of different nature, six arms of nonpolar polystyrene and six arms of polar poly-tert-butyl methacrylate. The changes of structure and physical properties with HAS inclusion were systematically studied using SEM, X-ray diffraction analysis, TGA, and contact angle measurements. Mass transfer of ethylene glycol and water through membranes was studied by sorption and pervaporation tests. It was found that the growth of HAS content up to 5 wt% in the membrane leads to an increase in the total flux and a strong increase in the separation factor. To evaluate intrinsic properties of the penetrant–membrane system, permeability and selectivity were calculated. Overall, utilizing star-shaped macromolecules as a filler can be a promising way to improve the separation performance of diffusion membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Industrial Wastewater Treatment by Nanofiltration—A Case Study on the Anodizing Industry
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050085 - 29 Apr 2020
Abstract
The anodizing industry generates several alkaline and acidic wastewater streams often with high concentrations of heavy metals. In this study, nanofiltration (NF) was used to treat wastewater from individual baths, i.e., wastewater from color rinse, alkaline pickling rinse, acidic pickling rinse and anodizing [...] Read more.
The anodizing industry generates several alkaline and acidic wastewater streams often with high concentrations of heavy metals. In this study, nanofiltration (NF) was used to treat wastewater from individual baths, i.e., wastewater from color rinse, alkaline pickling rinse, acidic pickling rinse and anodizing rinse, as well as a mixture of all the wastewater streams. The experiments were carried out by using a commercial membrane (NF99HF) exhibiting pure water permeability of 10 L/(m2·h·bar). For all wastewater streams except one, pH was adjusted to bring it within the recommended pH limits of the membrane, whereby part of the heavy metals precipitated and was removed. The NF of the color rinse offered high-quality permeate (heavy metals below detection limit) and high permeability (9 L/(m2·h·bar)), whereas the nanofiltration of the alkaline pickling rinse exhibited no permeability. The NF of the acidic pickling rinse showed a permeability of 3.1–4.1 L/(m2·h·bar), but low ion rejection (7–13%). NF of the neutralized mixed wastewater, after the removal of precipitate, produced high-quality permeate with a stable permeability of 1 L/(m2·h·bar). Treatment of the mixed wastewater is therefore the best option if the water has to be discharged. If the water has to be reused, the permeate conductivity in the color rinse and anodizing rinse baths have been reduced significantly, so the treatment of these streams may then be a better option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Oily Wastewater Treatment Using Polyamide Thin Film Composite Membrane Technology
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050084 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
In this study, polyamide (PA) thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filtration was used in edible oil wastewater emulsion treatment. The PA-TFC membrane was characterized using mechanical, thermal, chemical, and physical tests. Surface morphology and cross-sections of TFCs were characterized using [...] Read more.
In this study, polyamide (PA) thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filtration was used in edible oil wastewater emulsion treatment. The PA-TFC membrane was characterized using mechanical, thermal, chemical, and physical tests. Surface morphology and cross-sections of TFCs were characterized using SEM. The effects of edible oil concentrations, average droplets size, and contact angle on separation efficiency and flux were studied in detail. Purification performance was enhanced using activated carbon as a pre-treatment unit. The performance of the RO unit was assessed by chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal and permeate flux. Oil concentration in wastewater varied between 3000 mg/L and 6000 mg/L. Oily wastewater showed a higher contact angle (62.9°) than de-ionized water (33°). Experimental results showed that the presence of activated carbon increases the permeation COD removal from 94% to 99%. The RO membrane filtration coupled with an activated carbon unit of oily wastewater is a convenient hybrid technique for removal of high-concentration edible oil wastewater emulsion up to 99%. Using activated carbon as an adsorption pre-treatment unit improved the permeate flux from 34 L/m2hr to 75 L/m2hr. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Polyimide/Ionic Liquid Composite Membranes for Middle and High Temperature Fuel Cell Application: Water Sorption Behavior and Proton Conductivity
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050082 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Four water insoluble room-temperature protic ionic liquids (PILs) based on the N-alkylimidazolium cation with the alkyl chain length from 1 to 4 and bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide anion were synthesized and their chemical structure was confirmed by the 1H NMR and 19F NMR [...] Read more.
Four water insoluble room-temperature protic ionic liquids (PILs) based on the N-alkylimidazolium cation with the alkyl chain length from 1 to 4 and bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide anion were synthesized and their chemical structure was confirmed by the 1H NMR and 19F NMR analysis. PILs were revealed to be thermally stable up to 360 and 400 °C. At the same time, the proton conductivity of PILs was found to be dependent mostly on the temperature and, to a less extent, on the type of the cation, i.e., the increase of the conductivity from ~3 × 10−4 S/cm at 25 °C to 2 × 10−2 S/cm at 150 °C was observed. The water vapour sorption capacity of PILs was evaluated as a function of relative humidity and the influence of the alkyl chain length on the phase behaviour in the PIL-water system was discussed. The composite polyimide/PILs membranes were prepared by the PIL immobilization in the porous polymer (Matrimid® 5218) film. The composite membranes showed a high level of proton conductivity (~10−3 S/cm) at elevated temperatures (up to 160 °C). The obtained results reveal that the elaborated composite polyimide/PIL membranes are promising candidates for the application as proton exchange membrane at middle and high temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Assessing the Performance of Thin-Film Nanofiltration Membranes with Embedded Montmorillonites
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050079 - 26 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, the basal spacing of montmorillonite (MMT) was modified through ion exchange. Two kinds of MMT were used: sodium-modified MMT (Na-MMT) and organo-modified MMT (O-MMT). These two particles were incorporated separately into the thin-film nanocomposite polyamide membrane through the interfacial polymerization [...] Read more.
In this study, the basal spacing of montmorillonite (MMT) was modified through ion exchange. Two kinds of MMT were used: sodium-modified MMT (Na-MMT) and organo-modified MMT (O-MMT). These two particles were incorporated separately into the thin-film nanocomposite polyamide membrane through the interfacial polymerization of piperazine and trimesoyl chloride in n-hexane. The membrane with O-MMT (TFNO-MMT) has a more hydrophilic surface compared to that of membrane with Na-MMT (TFNNa-MMT). When various types of MMT were dispersed in the n-hexane solution with trimesoyl chloride (TMC), O-MMT was well-dispersed than Na-MMT. The poor dispersion of Na-MMT in n-hexane led to the aggregation of Na-MMT on the surface of TFNNa-MMT. TFNO-MMT displayed a uniform distribution of O-MMT on the surface, because O-MMT was well-dispersed in n-hexane. In comparison with the pristine and TFNNa-MMT membranes, TFNO-MMT delivered the highest pure water flux of 53.15 ± 3.30 L∙m−2∙h−1 at 6 bar, while its salt rejection for divalent ions remained at 95%–99%. Furthermore, it had stable performance in wide operating condition, and it exhibited a magnificent antifouling property. Therefore, a suitable type of MMT could lead to high separation efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Modeling and Simulation of the Simultaneous Absorption/Stripping of CO2 with Potassium Glycinate Solution in Membrane Contactor
Membranes 2020, 10(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10040072 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Global warming is an environmental problem caused mainly by one of the most serious greenhouse gas, CO2 emissions. Subsequently, the capture of CO2 from flue gas and natural gas is essential. Aqueous potassium glycinate (PG) is a promising novelty solvent used [...] Read more.
Global warming is an environmental problem caused mainly by one of the most serious greenhouse gas, CO2 emissions. Subsequently, the capture of CO2 from flue gas and natural gas is essential. Aqueous potassium glycinate (PG) is a promising novelty solvent used in the CO2 capture compared to traditional solvents; simultaneous solvent regeneration is associated with the absorption step. In present work, a 2D mathematical model where radial and axial diffusion are considered is developed for the simultaneous absorption/stripping process. The model describes the CO2/PG absorption/stripping process in a solvent–gas membrane absorption process. Regeneration data of rich potassium glycinate solvent using a varied range of acid gas loading (mol CO2 per mol PG) were used to predict the reversible reaction rate constant. A comparison of simulation results and experimental data validated the accuracy of the model predictions. The stripping reaction rate constant of rich potassium glycinate was determined experimentally and found to be a function of temperature and PG concentration. Model predictions were in good agreement with the experimental data. The results reveal that the percent removal of CO2 is directly proportional to CO2 loading and solvent stripping temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Cross-Flow Microfiltration of Glycerol Fermentation Broths with Citrobacter freundii
Membranes 2020, 10(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10040067 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper reports the study of the cross-flow microfiltration (MF) of glycerol fermentation broths with Citrobacter freundii bacteria. A single channel tubular ceramic membrane with a nominal pore size of 0.14 µm was used. It has been demonstrated that the MF ceramic membrane [...] Read more.
This paper reports the study of the cross-flow microfiltration (MF) of glycerol fermentation broths with Citrobacter freundii bacteria. A single channel tubular ceramic membrane with a nominal pore size of 0.14 µm was used. It has been demonstrated that the MF ceramic membrane has been successfully applied to bacteria cell removal and to effectively eliminate colloidal particles from glycerol fermentation broths. However, due to fouling, the significant reduction of the MF performance has been demonstrated. In order to investigate the impact of transmembrane pressure (TMP) and feed flow rate (Q) on MF performance, 24 experiments have been performed. The highest steady state permeate flux (138.97 dm3/m2h) was achieved for 0.12 MPa and 1000 dm3/h. Fouling analysis has been studied based on the resistance-in series model. It has been found that the percentage of irreversible fouling resistance during the MF increases with increasing TMP and Q. The permeate flux regeneration has been achieved by membrane cleaning with 3 wt % NaOH and 3 wt % H3PO4 at 45 °C. The results of this study are expected to be useful in industrially employing the MF process as the first step of glycerol fermentation broth purification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Natural Zeolite Particle Size Toward the Ammonia Adsorption Activity in Ceramic Hollow Fiber Membrane
Membranes 2020, 10(4), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10040063 - 04 Apr 2020
Abstract
Natural zeolite is widely used in removing ammonia via adsorption process because of its superior ion-exchange properties. Ceramic particle size affects the adsorptivity of particles toward ammonia. In this study, hollow fiber ceramic membrane (HFCM) was fabricated from natural zeolite via phase inversion. [...] Read more.
Natural zeolite is widely used in removing ammonia via adsorption process because of its superior ion-exchange properties. Ceramic particle size affects the adsorptivity of particles toward ammonia. In this study, hollow fiber ceramic membrane (HFCM) was fabricated from natural zeolite via phase inversion. The effect of natural zeolite particle size toward the properties and performance of HFCM was evaluated. The results show that the HFCM with smaller particle sizes exhibited a more compact morphological structure with better mechanical strength. The adsorption performance of HFCM was significantly improved with smaller particle sizes because of longer residence time, as proven by the lower water permeability. A high adsorption performance of 96.67% was achieved for HFCM with the smallest particle size (36 μm). These findings provide a new perspective on the promising properties of the natural zeolite-derived HFCM for ammonia removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Synthesis of Silica Membranes by Chemical Vapor Deposition Using a Dimethyldimethoxysilane Precursor
Membranes 2020, 10(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10030050 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Silica-based membranes prepared by chemical vapor deposition of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) on γ-alumina overlayers are known to be effective for hydrogen separation and are attractive for membrane reactor applications for hydrogen-producing reactions. In this study, the synthesis of the membranes was improved by simplifying [...] Read more.
Silica-based membranes prepared by chemical vapor deposition of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) on γ-alumina overlayers are known to be effective for hydrogen separation and are attractive for membrane reactor applications for hydrogen-producing reactions. In this study, the synthesis of the membranes was improved by simplifying the deposition of the intermediate γ-alumina layers and by using the precursor, dimethyldimethoxysilane (DMDMOS). In the placement of the γ-alumina layers, earlier work in our laboratory employed four to five dipping-calcining cycles of boehmite sol precursors to produce high H2 selectivities, but this took considerable time. In the present study, only two cycles were needed, even for a macro-porous support, through the use of finer boehmite precursor particle sizes. Using the simplified fabrication process, silica-alumina composite membranes with H2 permeance > 10−7 mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1 and H2/N2 selectivity >100 were successfully synthesized. In addition, the use of the silica precursor, DMDMOS, further improved the H2 permeance without compromising the H2/N2 selectivity. Pure DMDMOS membranes proved to be unstable against hydrothermal conditions, but the addition of aluminum tri-sec-butoxide (ATSB) improved the stability just like for conventional TEOS membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Effect of Surface Inhomogeneity of Ion-Exchange Membranes on the Mass Transfer Efficiency in Pulsed Electric Field Modes
Membranes 2020, 10(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10030040 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Despite the growing interest in pulsed electric field modes in membrane separation processes, there are currently not many works devoted to studying the effect of the surface properties and composition of ion-exchange membranes on their efficiency in these modes. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
Despite the growing interest in pulsed electric field modes in membrane separation processes, there are currently not many works devoted to studying the effect of the surface properties and composition of ion-exchange membranes on their efficiency in these modes. In this paper, we have shown the effect of increasing mass transfer using different kinds of ion-exchange membranes (heterogeneous and homogeneous with smooth, undulated, and rough surfaces) during electrodialysis in the pulsed electric field modes at underlimiting and overlimiting currents. It was found that the maximum increment in the average current is achieved when the average potential corresponds to the right-hand edge of the limiting current plateau of the voltammetric curve, i.e., at the maximum resistance of the system in the DC mode. For the first time, the development of electroconvective vortices was visualized in pulsed electric field modes and it was experimentally shown that even at relatively low frequencies, a non-uniform concentration field is preserved at the time of a pause, which stimulates the rapid development of electroconvection when pulses are switched on again. In the case of relatively high pulse frequencies, the electroconvective vortices formed during a pulse lapse do not completely decay during a pause; they only slightly decrease in size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Comparison of Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes and Polymeric Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration Membranes for Separation of Lignin and Monosaccharides
Membranes 2020, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10020029 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Lignin is one of the three main components of lignocellulosic biomass and must be considered a raw material with attractive applications from an economic and ecological point of view. Therefore, biorefineries must have in mind the most adequate processing to obtain high-quality lignin [...] Read more.
Lignin is one of the three main components of lignocellulosic biomass and must be considered a raw material with attractive applications from an economic and ecological point of view. Therefore, biorefineries must have in mind the most adequate processing to obtain high-quality lignin and the separation tasks that play a key role to improve the purity of the lignin. Separation techniques based on membranes are a promising way to achieve these requirements. In this work, the separation performance of the SILM (Supported Ionic Liquid Membrane) formed with [BMIM][DBP] as IL (Ionic Liquid) and PTFE as membrane support was compared to a nanofiltration (NF) membrane (NP010 by Microdyn-Nadir) and two ultrafiltration (UF) membranes (UF5 and UF10 by Trisep). The SILM showed selective transport of Kraft lignin, lignosulphonate, xylose, and glucose in aqueous solutions. Although it was stable under different conditions and its performance was improved by the integration of agitation, it was not competitive when compared to NF and UF membranes, although the latter ones suffered fouling. The NF membrane was the best alternative for the separation of lignosulphonates from monosaccharides (separation factors around 75 while SILM attained only values lower than 3), while the UF5 membrane should be selected to separate Kraft lignin and monosaccharides (separation factors around 100 while SILM attained only values below 3). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Hollow Fiber Membrane Contactors for Post-Combustion Carbon Capture: A Review of Modeling Approaches
Membranes 2020, 10(12), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10120382 - 30 Nov 2020
Abstract
Hollow fiber membrane contactors (HFMCs) can effectively separate CO2 from post-combustion flue gas by providing a high contact surface area between the flue gas and a liquid solvent. Accurate models of carbon capture HFMCs are necessary to understand the underlying transport processes [...] Read more.
Hollow fiber membrane contactors (HFMCs) can effectively separate CO2 from post-combustion flue gas by providing a high contact surface area between the flue gas and a liquid solvent. Accurate models of carbon capture HFMCs are necessary to understand the underlying transport processes and optimize HFMC designs. There are various methods for modeling HFMCs in 1D, 2D, or 3D. These methods include (but are not limited to): resistance-in-series, solution-diffusion, pore flow, Happel’s free surface model, and porous media modeling. This review paper discusses the state-of-the-art methods for modeling carbon capture HFMCs in 1D, 2D, and 3D. State-of-the-art 1D, 2D, and 3D carbon capture HFMC models are then compared in depth, based on their underlying assumptions. Numerical methods are also discussed, along with modeling to scale up HFMCs from the lab scale to the commercial scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview
Membrane Separation Coupled with Electrochemical Advanced Oxidation Processes for Organic Wastewater Treatment: A Short Review
Membranes 2020, 10(11), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10110337 - 12 Nov 2020
Abstract
Research on the coupling of membrane separation (MS) and electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) has been a hot area in water pollution control for decades. This coupling aims to greatly improve water quality and focuses on the challenges in practical application to provide [...] Read more.
Research on the coupling of membrane separation (MS) and electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) has been a hot area in water pollution control for decades. This coupling aims to greatly improve water quality and focuses on the challenges in practical application to provide a promising solution to water shortage problems. This article provides a summary of the coupling configurations of MS and EAOPs, including two-stage and one-pot processes. The two-stage process is a combination of MS and EAOPs where one process acts as a pretreatment for the other. Membrane fouling is reduced when setting EAOPs before MS, while mass transfer is promoted when placing EAOPs after MS. A one-pot process is a kind of integration of two technologies. The anode or cathode of the EAOPs is fabricated from porous materials to function as a membrane electrode; thus, pollutants are concurrently separated and degraded. The advantages of enhanced mass transfer and the enlarged electroactive area suggest that this process has excellent performance at a low current input, leading to much lower energy consumption. The reported conclusions illustrate that the coupling of MS and EAOPs is highly applicable and may be widely employed in wastewater treatment in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview
Microfluidics Used as a Tool to Understand and Optimize Membrane Filtration Processes
Membranes 2020, 10(11), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10110316 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Membrane filtration processes are best known for their application in the water, oil, and gas sectors, but also in food production they play an eminent role. Filtration processes are known to suffer from a decrease in efficiency in time due to e.g., particle [...] Read more.
Membrane filtration processes are best known for their application in the water, oil, and gas sectors, but also in food production they play an eminent role. Filtration processes are known to suffer from a decrease in efficiency in time due to e.g., particle deposition, also known as fouling and pore blocking. Although these processes are not very well understood at a small scale, smart engineering approaches have been used to keep membrane processes running. Microfluidic devices have been increasingly applied to study membrane filtration processes and accommodate observation and understanding of the filtration process at different scales, from nanometer to millimeter and more. In combination with microscopes and high-speed imaging, microfluidic devices allow real time observation of filtration processes. In this review we will give a general introduction on microfluidic devices used to study membrane filtration behavior, followed by a discussion of how microfluidic devices can be used to understand current challenges. We will then discuss how increased knowledge on fundamental aspects of membrane filtration can help optimize existing processes, before wrapping up with an outlook on future prospects on the use of microfluidics within the field of membrane separation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Best-Practice Organism for Single-Species Studies of Antimicrobial Efficacy against Biofilms Is Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090211 - 30 Aug 2020
Abstract
As potable water scarcity increases across the globe; it is imperative to identify energy and cost-effective processes for producing drinking-water from non-traditional sources. One established method is desalination of brackish and seawater via reverse osmosis (RO). However, the buildup of microorganisms at the [...] Read more.
As potable water scarcity increases across the globe; it is imperative to identify energy and cost-effective processes for producing drinking-water from non-traditional sources. One established method is desalination of brackish and seawater via reverse osmosis (RO). However, the buildup of microorganisms at the water-membrane interface, known as biofouling, clogs RO membranes over time, increasing energy requirements and cost. To investigate biofouling mitigation methods, studies tend to focus on single-species biofilms; choice of organism is crucial to producing useful results. To determine a best-practice organism for studying antimicrobial treatment of biofilms, with specific interest in biofouling of RO membranes, we answered the following two questions, each via its own semi-systematic review: 1. Which organisms are commonly used to test antimicrobial efficacy against biofilms on RO membranes? 2. Which organisms are commonly identified via genetic analysis in biofilms on RO membranes? We then critically review the results of two semi-systematic reviews to identify pioneer organisms from the listed species. We focus on pioneer organisms because they initiate biofilm formation, therefore, inhibiting these organisms specifically may limit biofilm formation in the first place. Based on the analysis of the results, we recommend utilizing Pseudomonas aeruginosa for future single-species studies focused on biofilm treatment including, but not limited to, biofouling of RO membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview
Polymyxins and Bacterial Membranes: A Review of Antibacterial Activity and Mechanisms of Resistance
Membranes 2020, 10(8), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10080181 - 08 Aug 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Following their initial discovery in the 1940s, polymyxin antibiotics fell into disfavor due to their potential clinical toxicity, especially nephrotoxicity. However, the dry antibiotic development pipeline, together with the rising global prevalence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria have both rejuvenated [...] Read more.
Following their initial discovery in the 1940s, polymyxin antibiotics fell into disfavor due to their potential clinical toxicity, especially nephrotoxicity. However, the dry antibiotic development pipeline, together with the rising global prevalence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria have both rejuvenated clinical interest in these polypeptide antibiotics. Parallel to the revival of their use, investigations into the mechanisms of action and resistance to polymyxins have intensified. With an initial known effect on biological membranes, research has uncovered the detailed molecular and chemical interactions that polymyxins have with Gram-negative outer membranes and lipopolysaccharide structure. In addition, genetic and epidemiological studies have revealed the basis of resistance to these agents. Nowadays, resistance to polymyxins in MDR Gram-negative pathogens is well elucidated, with chromosomal as well as plasmid-encoded, transferrable pathways. The aims of the current review are to highlight the important chemical, microbiological, and pharmacological properties of polymyxins, to discuss their mechanistic effects on bacterial membranes, and to revise the current knowledge about Gram-negative acquired resistance to these agents. Finally, recent research, directed towards new perspectives for improving these old agents utilized in the 21st century, to combat drug-resistant pathogens, is summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Developments in Nanomaterials-Modified Membranes for Improved Membrane Distillation Performance
Membranes 2020, 10(7), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10070140 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Membrane distillation (MD) is a thermally induced membrane separation process that utilizes vapor pressure variance to permeate the more volatile constituent, typically water as vapor, across a hydrophobic membrane and rejects the less volatile components of the feed. Permeate flux decline, membrane fouling, [...] Read more.
Membrane distillation (MD) is a thermally induced membrane separation process that utilizes vapor pressure variance to permeate the more volatile constituent, typically water as vapor, across a hydrophobic membrane and rejects the less volatile components of the feed. Permeate flux decline, membrane fouling, and wetting are some serious challenges faced in MD operations. Thus, in recent years, various studies have been carried out on the modification of these MD membranes by incorporating nanomaterials to overcome these challenges and significantly improve the performance of these membranes. This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of the incorporation of new generation nanomaterials such as quantum dots, metalloids and metal oxide-based nanoparticles, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), and carbon-based nanomaterials in the MD membrane. The desired characteristics of the membrane for MD operations, such as a higher liquid entry pressure (LEPw), permeability, porosity, hydrophobicity, chemical stability, thermal conductivity, and mechanical strength, have been thoroughly discussed. Additionally, methodologies adopted for the incorporation of nanomaterials in these membranes, including surface grafting, plasma polymerization, interfacial polymerization, dip coating, and the efficacy of these modified membranes in various MD operations along with their applications are addressed. Further, the current challenges in modifying MD membranes using nanomaterials along with prominent future aspects have been systematically elaborated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview
Metal and Covalent Organic Frameworks for Membrane Applications
Membranes 2020, 10(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10050107 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Better and more efficient membranes are needed to face imminent and future scientific, technological and societal challenges. New materials endowed with enhanced properties are required for the preparation of such membranes. Metal and Covalent Organic Frameworks (MOFs and COFs) are a new class [...] Read more.
Better and more efficient membranes are needed to face imminent and future scientific, technological and societal challenges. New materials endowed with enhanced properties are required for the preparation of such membranes. Metal and Covalent Organic Frameworks (MOFs and COFs) are a new class of crystalline porous materials with large surface area, tuneable pore size, structure, and functionality, making them a perfect candidate for membrane applications. In recent years an enormous number of articles have been published on the use of MOFs and COFs in preparation of membranes for various applications. This review gathers the work reported on the synthesis and preparation of membranes containing MOFs and COFs in the last 10 years. Here we give an overview on membranes and their use in separation technology, discussing the essential factors in their synthesis as well as their limitations. A full detailed summary of the preparation and characterization methods used for MOF and COF membranes is given. Finally, applications of these membranes in gas and liquid separation as well as fuel cells are discussed. This review is aimed at both experts in the field and newcomers, including students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, who would like to learn about preparation of membranes from crystalline porous materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes: 10th Anniversary)
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