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Special Issue "New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alberto Figoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology (CNR-ITM), 87036 (Rende), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; hollow-fibers; membrane preparation; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration; sustainable membrane preparation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesco Galiano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology (CNR-ITM), 87036 (Rende), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; hollow-fibers; membrane preparation; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last decades, we have witnessed a continuous increasing interest in the production and utilization of polymeric membranes in a wide variety of applications. The possibility of producing membrane with different tailored structures and properties allows their use in the most disparate processes. Therefore, membranes can be prepared using a broad spectrum of techniques, depending on both the membrane material adopted and the final application. Based on the preparation techniques and conditions selected, in fact, it is possible to vary the membrane morphology and properties.

Today, membranes represent a very well-established technology in desalination (e.g., reverse Osmosis), biomedical applications (e.g., hemodialysis) and wastewater treatment (e.g., membrane bio-reactor), recovery of added value products by fractionation and concentrations applications (e.g., pressure-driven membrane processes), and in gas and vapor separation (e.g., gas membranes or membrane contactors).

In this Special Issue, researchers are invited to contribute original research papers, as well as review articles, related to the preparation, characterization, and application of polymeric, mixed matrix, and inorganic membranes, in both flat and hollow-fiber configuration. We are particularly interested in articles focusing on innovative aspects in the preparation and application of membranes with tailored and unique features. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced membrane preparation techniques;
  • Membrane functionalization and application;
  • Sustainability in membrane preparation;
  • Study of the effect of operating conditions and process parameters on membrane morphology and performance;
  • Application of high performing membranes in selected membrane processes.

Dr. Alberto Figoli
Dr. Francesco Galiano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All 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. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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

  • Polymeric membranes
  • Inorganic membranes
  • Mixed matrix membranes
  • Membrane preparation
  • Membrane characterization
  • Hollow fibers
  • Water and Wastewater treatment
  • Gas and Vapor Separation
  • New solvents in membrane preparation
  • New polymers in membrane preparation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Solvent-Free Process for the Development of Photocatalytic Membranes
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4481; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244481 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2019
Abstract
This work described a new sustainable method for the fabrication of ceramic membranes with high photocatalytic activity, through a simple sol-gel route. The photocatalytic surfaces, prepared at low temperature and under solvent-free conditions, exhibited a narrow pore size distribution and homogeneity without cracks. [...] Read more.
This work described a new sustainable method for the fabrication of ceramic membranes with high photocatalytic activity, through a simple sol-gel route. The photocatalytic surfaces, prepared at low temperature and under solvent-free conditions, exhibited a narrow pore size distribution and homogeneity without cracks. These surfaces have shown a highly efficient and reproducible behavior for the degradation of methylene blue. Given their characterization results, the microfiltration photocatalytic membranes produced in this study using solvent-free conditions are expected to effectively retain microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi that could then be inactivated by photocatalysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications)
Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
First Report on a Solvent-Free Preparation of Polymer Inclusion Membranes with an Ionic Liquid
Molecules 2019, 24(10), 1845; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24101845 - 14 May 2019
Abstract
A novel and environmentally-friendly procedure for the preparation of polymer inclusion membranes (PIMs) containing an ionic liquid is presented for the first time. Traditionally, PIMs are prepared by a solvent casting method with the use of harmful organic solvents. Here we report a [...] Read more.
A novel and environmentally-friendly procedure for the preparation of polymer inclusion membranes (PIMs) containing an ionic liquid is presented for the first time. Traditionally, PIMs are prepared by a solvent casting method with the use of harmful organic solvents. Here we report a new solvent-free procedure based on a thermal-compression technique which involve the melting of the components of the PIM and the application of a high pressure to the melted specimen to form a flat-sheet film. In our study, we have tested different polymers, such as two cellulose derivatives as well as two thermoplastic polymers, polyurethane (TPU) and poli ε-caprolactone (PCL). The ionic liquid (IL) trioctylmethylammonium chloride (Aliquat 336) has been used to produce PIMs with a fixed composition of 70% polymer–30% IL (w/w). Both TPU and PCL polymers provide successful membranes, which have been thoroughly characterized. PIMs based on the polymer PCL showed a high stability. To test whether the properties of the IL were affected by the preparation conditions, the extraction ability of Aliquat 336 was investigated for both PCL and TPU membranes in terms of Cr(VI) extraction. Satisfactory values (90% extraction) were obtained for both membranes tested, showing this novel procedure as a green alternative for the preparation of PIMs with ILs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Evaluation of the Thermal Polarization in Direct Contact Membrane Distillation Using Electrospun Nanofiber Membranes Doped With Molecular Probes
Molecules 2019, 24(3), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24030638 - 12 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Membrane distillation (MD) has recently gained considerable attention as a valid process for the production of fresh-water due to its ability to exploit low grade waste heat for operation and to ensure a nearly feed concentration-independent production of high-purity distillate. Limitations have been [...] Read more.
Membrane distillation (MD) has recently gained considerable attention as a valid process for the production of fresh-water due to its ability to exploit low grade waste heat for operation and to ensure a nearly feed concentration-independent production of high-purity distillate. Limitations have been related to polarization phenomena negatively affecting the thermal efficiency of the process and, as a consequence, its productivity. Several theoretical models have been developed to predict the impact of the operating conditions of the process on the thermal polarization, but there is a lack of experimental validation. In this study, electrospun nanofiber membranes (ENMs) made of Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and doped with (1, 10-phenanthroline) ruthenium (II) Ru(phen)3 were tested at different operating conditions (i.e., temperature and velocity of the feed) in direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD). The temperature sensitive luminophore, Ru(phen)3, allowed the on-line and non-invasive mapping of the temperature at the membrane surface during the process and the experimental evaluation of the effect of the temperature and velocity of the feed on the thermal polarization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Membrane Processes for Microplastic Removal
Molecules 2019, 24(22), 4148; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224148 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Plastic pollution of the aquatic environment is a major concern considering the disastrous impact on the environment and on human beings. The significant and continuous increase in the production of plastics causes an enormous amount of plastic waste on the land entering the [...] Read more.
Plastic pollution of the aquatic environment is a major concern considering the disastrous impact on the environment and on human beings. The significant and continuous increase in the production of plastics causes an enormous amount of plastic waste on the land entering the aquatic environment. Furthermore, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are reported as the main source of microplastic and nanoplastic in the effluents, since they are not properly designed for this purpose. The application of advanced wastewater treatment technologies is mandatory to avoid effluent contamination by plastics. A concrete solution can be represented by membrane technologies as tertiary treatment of effluents in integrated systems for wastewater treatment, in particular, for the plastic particles with a smaller size (< 100 nm). In this review, a survey of the membrane processes applied in the plastic removal is analyzed and critically discussed. From the literature analysis, it was found that the removal of microplastic by membrane technology is still insufficient, and without the use of specially designed approaches, with the exception of membrane bioreactors (MBRs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications)
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Open AccessReview
New Trends in Biopolymer-Based Membranes for Pervaporation
Molecules 2019, 24(19), 3584; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24193584 - 05 Oct 2019
Abstract
Biopolymers are currently the most convenient alternative for replacing chemically synthetized polymers in membrane preparation. To date, several biopolymers have been proposed for such purpose, including the ones derived from animal (e.g., polybutylene succinate, polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalcanoates), vegetable sources (e.g., starch, cellulose-based polymers, [...] Read more.
Biopolymers are currently the most convenient alternative for replacing chemically synthetized polymers in membrane preparation. To date, several biopolymers have been proposed for such purpose, including the ones derived from animal (e.g., polybutylene succinate, polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalcanoates), vegetable sources (e.g., starch, cellulose-based polymers, alginate, polyisoprene), bacterial fermentation products (e.g., collagen, chitin, chitosan) and specific production processes (e.g., sericin). Particularly, these biopolymer-based membranes have been implemented into pervaporation (PV) technology, which assists in the selective separation of azeotropic water-organic, organic-water, organic-organic mixtures, and specific separations of chemical reactions. Thereby, the aim of the present review is to present the current state-of-the-art regarding the different concepts on preparing membranes for PV. Particular attention is paid to the most relevant insights in the field, highlighting the followed strategies by authors for such successful approaches. Finally, by reviewing the ongoing development works, the concluding remarks and future trends are addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Membrane Preparation and Applications)
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