Special Issue "Pervaporation, Vapour Permeation and Membrane Distillation: From Membrane Fabrication to Application"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Francesco Galiano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National esearch Council, ITM-CNR, via P. Bucci, 17/C, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; hollow-fibers; membrane preparation; bio-polymeric membranes; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration; sustainable membrane preparation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Roberto Castro-Muñoz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Toluca. Avenida Eduardo Monroy Cárdenas 2000 San Antonio Buenavista, 50110 Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico
Interests: membrane processes (MF, UF and NF); membrane gas separation; pervaporation; mixed matrix membranes; pervaporation-assisted chemical and biochemical processes; biorefining; CO2 separation; waste valorization; food technology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alberto Figoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National esearch Council, ITM-CNR, via P. Bucci, 17/C, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; sustainable membrane preparation; bio-polymeric membranes; flat membranes; hollow-fibers; nano fibers; membrane preparation; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pervaporation, vapour permeation and membrane distillation represent three membrane processes very well-studied at research level and with a great potential of exploitation in the different industrial sectors. These processes share the fact that the species to be removed are in the vapour phase during their permeation through the membrane and the driving force is represented by a chemical gradient (pressure, temperature). Their field of application is wide and ever-expanding including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, food, chemical and petrochemical sectors, environmental protection, water treatment/desalination.

In this Special Issue on “Pervaporation, vapour permeation and membrane distillation: from membrane fabrication to application” of the journal Membranes, researchers are invited to contribute original research papers, as well as review articles, related to the preparation, characterization and application of membranes in pervaporation, vapour permeation and membrane distillation processes.

The topics include, but are not limited to, hydrophilic pervaporation, hydrophobic pervaporation, organic/organic pervaporation, vapour permeation, direct contact membrane distillation, air gap membrane distillation, vacuum membrane distillation, sweeping gas membrane distillation, hybrid processes, preparation and characterization of membranes, transport phenomena, module and reactor design, industrial exploitation.

Dr. Francesco Galiano
Dr. Roberto Castro-Muñoz
Dr. Alberto Figoli
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.

Keywords

  • Pervaporation
  • Vapour permeation
  • Membrane distillation
  • Membrane preparation

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Editorial
Pervaporation, Vapour Permeation and Membrane Distillation: From Membrane Fabrication to Application
Membranes 2021, 11(3), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11030162 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
In recent decades, membrane technologies have attracted a lot of interest in operations for highly selective separations [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Article
Operation of Three-Stage Process of Lithium Recovery from Geothermal Brine: Simulation
Membranes 2021, 11(3), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11030175 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 850
Abstract
Lithium-rich geothermal waters are considered as an alternative source, and further concentration of lithium is required for its effective recovery. In this work, we have simulated a three-stage lithium recovery process including the brine softening by precipitation Ca2+/Mg2+ cations with [...] Read more.
Lithium-rich geothermal waters are considered as an alternative source, and further concentration of lithium is required for its effective recovery. In this work, we have simulated a three-stage lithium recovery process including the brine softening by precipitation Ca2+/Mg2+ cations with sodium carbonate (calculated in PHREEQC), followed by an integrated system consisting of membrane distillation unit (water evaporation), crystallizer (NaCl precipitation), and membrane extraction (Li+ recovery), which was simulated in Simulink/MATLAB. It was shown that the deterioration of membrane performance in time due to scaling/fouling plays a critical role in the performance of the system resulting in the dramatic increase of the replaced membrane modules by a factor of 5. Low cost membranes are required. The process simulation based on the experimental and literature data on the high salinity solutions with the membrane distillation revealed that the specific productivity can be achieved in the range of 9.9–880 g (Li+) per square meter of membranes in the module used before its replacement. The increase of energy efficiency is needed. The mass-flow-rate of saline solution circulated to the crystallizer was set at its almost minimum value as 6.5 kg/min to enable its successful operation at the given parameters of the membrane distillation unit. In other words, the operation of the integrated system having 140 kg of saline solution in the loop and a membrane module of 2.5 m2 for concentration of lithium presence from 0.11 up to 2.3 g/kg would be associated with the circulation of about of 259 tons of saline solution per month between the distillation unit (60 °C) and the crystallizer (15 °C) to yield of up to 1.4 kg of lithium ions. The comprehensive summary and discussion are presented in the conclusions section. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Exploring the Effect of Iron Metal-Organic Framework Particles in Polylactic Acid Membranes for the Azeotropic Separation of Organic/Organic Mixtures by Pervaporation
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11010065 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
A microporous carboxylate metal-organic framework MIL-100 Fe was prepared as submicron particles by microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis (Fe-MOF-MW). This product was explored, for the first time, for the preparation of polylactic acid (PLA) mixed matrix membranes. The produced MOF was characterised by powder X-ray [...] Read more.
A microporous carboxylate metal-organic framework MIL-100 Fe was prepared as submicron particles by microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis (Fe-MOF-MW). This product was explored, for the first time, for the preparation of polylactic acid (PLA) mixed matrix membranes. The produced MOF was characterised by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) as well as by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and nitrogen adsorption/desorption. The effect of different Fe-MOF-MW concentrations (0.1 and 0.5 wt%) on the membrane properties and performance were evaluated. These membranes were used in the pervaporation process for the separation of methanol/methyl tert-butyl-ether mixtures at the azeotropic point. The influence of the feed temperature and vacuum pressure on the membrane performance was evaluated and the results were compared with PLA pristine membranes. Moreover, the produced membranes have been characterised in terms of morphology, MOF dispersion in the polymeric membrane matrix, wettability, thickness, mechanical resistance and swelling propensity. The presence of Fe-MOF-MW was found to have a beneficial effect in improving the selectivity of mixed matrix membranes towards methanol at both concentrations. The highest selectivity was obtained for the PLA membranes embedded with 0.5 wt% of Fe-MOF-MW and tested at the temperature of 25 °C and vacuum pressure of 0.09 mbar. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Modelling the Molecular Permeation through Mixed-Matrix Membranes Incorporating Tubular Fillers
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11010058 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 652
Abstract
Membrane-based processes are considered a promising separation method for many chemical and environmental applications such as pervaporation and gas separation. Numerous polymeric membranes have been used for these processes due to their good transport properties, ease of fabrication, and relatively low fabrication cost [...] Read more.
Membrane-based processes are considered a promising separation method for many chemical and environmental applications such as pervaporation and gas separation. Numerous polymeric membranes have been used for these processes due to their good transport properties, ease of fabrication, and relatively low fabrication cost per unit membrane area. However, these types of membranes are suffering from the trade-off between permeability and selectivity. Mixed-matrix membranes, comprising a filler phase embedded into a polymer matrix, have emerged in an attempt to partly overcome some of the limitations of conventional polymer and inorganic membranes. Among them, membranes incorporating tubular fillers are new nanomaterials having the potential to transcend Robeson’s upper bound. Aligning nanotubes in the host polymer matrix in the permeation direction could lead to a significant improvement in membrane permeability. However, although much effort has been devoted to experimentally evaluating nanotube mixed-matrix membranes, their modelling is mostly based on early theories for mass transport in composite membranes. In this study, the effective permeability of mixed-matrix membranes with tubular fillers was estimated from the steady-state concentration profile within the membrane, calculated by solving the Fick diffusion equation numerically. Using this approach, the effects of various structural parameters, including the tubular filler volume fraction, orientation, length-to-diameter aspect ratio, and permeability ratio were assessed. Enhanced relative permeability was obtained with vertically aligned nanotubes. The relative permeability increased with the filler-polymer permeability ratio, filler volume fraction, and the length-to-diameter aspect ratio. For water-butanol separation, mixed-matrix membranes using polydimethylsiloxane with nanotubes did not lead to performance enhancement in terms of permeability and selectivity. The results were then compared with analytical prediction models such as the Maxwell, Hamilton-Crosser and Kang-Jones-Nair (KJN) models. Overall, this work presents a useful tool for understanding and designing mixed-matrix membranes with tubular fillers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Graphene Oxide Incorporated Polysulfone Substrate for Flat Sheet Thin Film Nanocomposite Pressure Retarded Osmosis Membrane
Membranes 2020, 10(12), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10120416 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 736
Abstract
This study focuses on the development of flat sheet thin film nanocomposite (TFN) pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) membranes for the enhancement of osmotic power generation by the incorporation of laboratory-synthesised graphene oxide (GO) into the polysulfone (PSf) polymer matrix. A series of membranes [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the development of flat sheet thin film nanocomposite (TFN) pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) membranes for the enhancement of osmotic power generation by the incorporation of laboratory-synthesised graphene oxide (GO) into the polysulfone (PSf) polymer matrix. A series of membranes containing different weight percent of GO (0, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 wt%) were fabricated via a phase inversion method with polyethylene glycol (PEG) as the pore forming agent. The results show that the TFN-0.25GO membrane has excellent water flux, salt reverse flux, high porosity and an enhanced microvoids morphology compared to the control membrane. The highest power density was achieved when TFN-0.25GO was used is 8.36 Wm−2 at pressure >15 bar. It was found that the incorporation of GO into the polymer matrix has significantly improved the intrinsic and mechanical properties of the membrane. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
A “Graft to” Electrospun Zwitterionic Bilayer Membrane for the Separation of Hydraulic Fracturing-Produced Water via Membrane Distillation
Membranes 2020, 10(12), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10120402 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 777
Abstract
Simultaneous fouling and pore wetting of the membrane during membrane distillation (MD) is a major concern. In this work, an electrospun bilayer membrane for enhancing fouling and wetting resistance has been developed for treating hydraulic fracture-produced water (PW) by MD. These PWs can [...] Read more.
Simultaneous fouling and pore wetting of the membrane during membrane distillation (MD) is a major concern. In this work, an electrospun bilayer membrane for enhancing fouling and wetting resistance has been developed for treating hydraulic fracture-produced water (PW) by MD. These PWs can contain over 200,000 ppm total dissolved solids, organic compounds and surfactants. The membrane consists of an omniphobic surface that faces the permeate stream and a hydrophilic surface that faces the feed stream. The omniphobic surface was decorated by growing nanoparticles, followed by silanization to lower the surface energy. An epoxied zwitterionic polymer was grafted onto the membrane surface that faces the feed stream to form a tight antifouling hydration layer. The membrane was challenged with an aqueous NaCl solution containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), an ampholyte and crude oil. In the presence of SDS and crude oil, the membrane was stable and displayed salt rejection (>99.9%). Further, the decrease was much less than the base polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) electrospun membrane. The membranes were also challenged with actual PW. Our results highlight the importance of tuning the properties of the membrane surface that faces the feed and permeate streams in order to maximize membrane stability, flux and salt rejection. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Enhanced Performance of Carbon Nanotube Immobilized Membrane for the Treatment of High Salinity Produced Water via Direct Contact Membrane Distillation
Membranes 2020, 10(11), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10110325 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 723
Abstract
Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising desalination technology for the treatment of high salinity water. Here, we investigated the fouling characteristics of produced water obtained from hydraulic fracturing by implementing a carbon nanotube immobilized membrane (CNIM) via direct contact membrane distillation. The CNIM [...] Read more.
Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising desalination technology for the treatment of high salinity water. Here, we investigated the fouling characteristics of produced water obtained from hydraulic fracturing by implementing a carbon nanotube immobilized membrane (CNIM) via direct contact membrane distillation. The CNIM exhibited enhanced water vapor flux and antifouling characteristics compared to the pristine membrane. The normalized flux decline with the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane after 7 h of operation was found to be 18.2% more than the CNIM. The addition of 1-Hydroxy Ethylidene-1, 1-Diphosphonic acid (HEDP) antiscalant was found to be effective in reducing the membrane fouling. The salt deposition on the membrane surface was 77% less in the CNIM, which was further reduced with the addition of HEDP in the feed by up to 135.4% in comparison with the PTFE membrane. The presence of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the membrane surface also facilitated the regenerability of the membrane. The results indicated that the CNIM regained 90.9% of its initial water flux after washing, whereas the unmodified PTFE only regained 81.1% of its initial flux after five days of operation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Boron Removal by Membrane Distillation: A Comparison Study
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100263 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 980
Abstract
Several Membrane Distillation (MD) technologies have been employed to remove boron from various concentrations. In this study, Vacuum Membrane Distillation (VMD), Permeate Gap Membrane Distillation (PGMD), and Air Gap Membrane Distillation (AGMD) are examined to evaluate their effectiveness when combined with several boron [...] Read more.
Several Membrane Distillation (MD) technologies have been employed to remove boron from various concentrations. In this study, Vacuum Membrane Distillation (VMD), Permeate Gap Membrane Distillation (PGMD), and Air Gap Membrane Distillation (AGMD) are examined to evaluate their effectiveness when combined with several boron concentrations (1.5, 7 and 30 ppm) and operating parameters (circulation rate from 0.9 L/min to 5 L/min, feed temperature from 40 to 70 °C, and pH from 3–11). Those concentrations of boron are selected on the basis of the concentration of boron in the permeate side of the single-pass reverse osmosis (RO) system, Arabian Gulf, and contaminated brackish water. Moreover, synthetic seawater is treated to assess MD technologies’ effectiveness. A high removal efficiency of boron is accomplished by MD. AGMD, PGMD, and VMD are promising methods for the desalination industry. AGMD shows excellent boron removal, which was above 99% with a wide ranging concentration. In addition, VMD demonstrates good permeate flux compared to the other MD technologies, which were about 5.8 kg/m2·h for synthetic seawater. Furthermore, there is no noteworthy influence of the pH value on the boron removal efficiency. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
A Systematic Framework for Optimizing a Sweeping Gas Membrane Distillation (SGMD)
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100254 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
The present work has undertaken a meticulous glance on optimizing the performance of an SGMD configuration utilized a porous poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-co-HFP) membrane. This was carried out by conducting a systematic framework for investigating and optimizing the pertinent parameters such [...] Read more.
The present work has undertaken a meticulous glance on optimizing the performance of an SGMD configuration utilized a porous poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-co-HFP) membrane. This was carried out by conducting a systematic framework for investigating and optimizing the pertinent parameters such as sweeping gas flow rate, feed temperature, feed concentration and feed flow rate on the permeate flux. For this purpose, the Taguchi method and design of experiment techniques were harnessed to statistically determine optimum operational conditions. Besides that, a comprehensive surface and permeation characterization was conducted against the hand-made membranes. Results showcased that the membrane performance was ultimately controlled by the feed temperature and was nearly (~680) % higher when the temperature raised from 45 to 65 °C. Also, to a lesser extent, the system was dominated by the feed flow rate. As the adopted feed flow rate increases (from 0.2 to 0.6 L/min), around 47.5% increment was bestowed on water permeability characteristics. In contra, 34.5% flux decline was witnessed when higher saline feed concentration (100 g/L) was utilized. In the meantime, with raising the sweeping gas flow rate (from 120 to 300 L/h), the distillate was nearly 129% higher. Based on Taguchi design, the maximum permeate flux (17.3 and 17 kg/m2·h) was secured at 35 g/L, 0.4 L/min, 65 °C and 300 L/h, for both commercial and prepared membranes, respectively. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Mesoporous Silica Membranes Silylated by Fluorinated and Non-Fluorinated Alkylsilanes for the Separation of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether from Water
Membranes 2020, 10(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10040070 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
It is of great significance to separate hazardous methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) from water in terms of environmental protection and human health. In the present work, α-Al2O3-suppotred silica membranes were prepared by the sol-gel and dip-coating technique. Two fluorinated [...] Read more.
It is of great significance to separate hazardous methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) from water in terms of environmental protection and human health. In the present work, α-Al2O3-suppotred silica membranes were prepared by the sol-gel and dip-coating technique. Two fluorinated alkylsilanes (1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (PFOTES) and trifluoropropyltriethoxysilane (TFPTES)) and two non-fluorinated alkylsilanes (octyltriethoxysilane (OTES) and propyltriethoxysilane (PTES)) were adopted to silylate the silica membrane by the post-grafting method which is used for the separation of MTBE from water by pervaporation. The results show that silylation enhances the hydrophobicity of silica membranes. The silylated silica membranes are selective towards MTBE, and the MTBE/water separation factor varies with grafting agents in the order: PFOTES > TFPTES > OTES > PTES. Membranes silylated with fluorinated carbon chains seem to be more selective towards MTBE than those with non-fluorinated carbon chains. The total flux is proportional to the pore volume of silica membranes, which depends on grafting agents in the order: PTES > PFOTES > OTES > TFPTES. Considering both total flux and selectivity, the PFOTES-SiO2 membrane is most effective in separation, with a MTBE/water separation factor of 24.6 and a total flux of 0.35 kg m−2 h−1 under a MTBE concentration of 3.0% and a feed temperature of 30 °C. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Review
Role of Membrane Technology in Absorption Heat Pumps: A Comprehensive Review
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090216 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
The role of heat pumps is linked to the actions of human life. Even though the existing technologies perform well in general, they have still some problems, such as cost, installation area, components size, number of components, noise, etc. To address these issues, [...] Read more.
The role of heat pumps is linked to the actions of human life. Even though the existing technologies perform well in general, they have still some problems, such as cost, installation area, components size, number of components, noise, etc. To address these issues, membrane technologies have been introduced in both heat and cooling devices. The present work proposes and studied the review of the role of membrane technology in the heat pumps. The study focuses on the advancement and replacement of membrane in the place of absorption and compression heat pump components. The detailed analysis and improvements are focused on the absorber, desorber, and heat and mass exchanger. The parameters conditions and operation of membrane technologies are given in detail. In addition to this, the innovation in the heat pumps using the membrane technology is given in detail. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop