Special Issue "Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes"

A special issue of Processes (ISSN 2227-9717). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Processes".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Joe Da Costa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Films and Inorganic Membrane Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: inorganic membranes; materials functionalization; mixed matrix structures; environmental catalysis; adsorption; gas and liquid processing
Dr. Julius Motuzas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
FIM2 Lab–Functional and Interfacial Materials and Membranes Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: ceramic and mixed matrix membranes; desalination; pervaporation process; gas separation; wastewater cleaning; heterogeneous catalysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membrane technology advancement has been realised by new materials and novel preparation processes. Recently, there has been a number of works showing performance improvements by mixed matrix membranes (MMM). These membranes can be characterised by mixing organic and inorganic phases, of by combining different inorganic phase materials. Examples include MMM containing silica/carbon, polymer/MOF, ceramics/stainless steel among many other combinations. There are also a number of novel assembly processes based on freeze casting and vacuum impregnation of pores among other processes. These advancements in membrane technology can deliver higher fluxes and separation factors, thus affecting transport property through dense and porous media.

This special issue on “Membranes, Materials, Performance and Processes” seeks high quality works focusing on the latest novel advances membrane technology for both gas and liquid separation. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Porous materials (ceramic, silica, carbon and/or composites) and performance application;
  • MMM membrane preparation processes and transport properties;
  • Novel membrane assembly by vacuum-assisted and/or freeze-cast processes, materials and transport properties;
  • Membrane process industrial integration, application and modelling.

Prof. Dr. Joe Da Costa
Dr. Julius Motuzas
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. Processes 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Please note that for papers submitted after 31 December 2019 an APC of 1400 CHF applies. 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

  • Membranes
  • Material
  • Inorganic
  • Mixed Matrix
  • Performance

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Special Issue on “Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes”
Processes 2019, 7(5), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7050261 - 06 May 2019
Viewed by 981
Abstract
This Special Issue on “Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes” of Processes provides a collection of interdisciplinary work representative of the current development in the fields of
membrane science and technology [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)

Research

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Article
Size Separation of Silica Particles Using a Magnetite-Containing Gel-Packed Column
Processes 2019, 7(4), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7040201 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1279
Abstract
A magnetite-containing gel was prepared by water-in-oil radical polymerization of N,N-dimethylacrylamide and N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide in the presence of magnetite. The size of the prepared gel particles was 86 µm. The obtained magnetite-containing gel was packed in a column [...] Read more.
A magnetite-containing gel was prepared by water-in-oil radical polymerization of N,N-dimethylacrylamide and N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide in the presence of magnetite. The size of the prepared gel particles was 86 µm. The obtained magnetite-containing gel was packed in a column and first permeated with water, which revealed that the gel displayed a nonlinear response to pressure drop with increasing flow rate. Thus, the gel particles at the bottom of the column felt more pressure from the fluid than those at the top, causing greater deformation of the gel particles at the bottom of the column than at the top. The gaps between the packed gel particles functioned as pores to filter particles of appropriate size and morphology. An industrial silica particle suspension with particle sizes of 300 nm, 800 nm, and 10 µm was permeated through the gel layer. The smallest (300 nm) silica particles passed through the column. The filtered silica particles were recovered from the gel layer by using a magnet to separate the magnetite-containing gel from the filtered silica particles. This magnetite-containing gel has wide application prospects for the separation of not only ceramics but also other colloids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Enhancing Oxygen Permeation via the Incorporation of Silver Inside Perovskite Oxide Membranes
Processes 2019, 7(4), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7040199 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1561
Abstract
As a possible novel cost-effective method for oxygen production from air separation, ion-conducting ceramic membranes are becoming a hot research topic due to their potentials in clean energy and environmental processes. Oxygen separation via these ion-conducting membranes is completed via the bulk diffusion [...] Read more.
As a possible novel cost-effective method for oxygen production from air separation, ion-conducting ceramic membranes are becoming a hot research topic due to their potentials in clean energy and environmental processes. Oxygen separation via these ion-conducting membranes is completed via the bulk diffusion and surface reactions with a typical example of perovskite oxide membranes. To improve the membrane performance, silver (Ag) deposition on the membrane surface as the catalyst is a good strategy. However, the conventional silver coating method has the problem of particle aggregation, which severely lowers the catalytic efficiency. In this work, the perovskite oxide La0.8Ca0.2Fe0.94O3−a (LCF) and silver (5% by mole) composite (LCFA) as the membrane starting material was synthesized using one-pot method via the wet complexation where the metal and silver elements were sourced from their respective nitrate salts. LCFA hollow fiber membrane was prepared and comparatively investigated for air separation together with pure LCF hollow fiber membrane. Operated from 800 to 950 °C under sweep gas mode, the pure LCF membrane displayed the fluxes from 0.04 to 0.54 mL min−1 cm−2. Compared to pure LCF, under similar operating conditions, the flux of LCFA membrane was improved by 160%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
High-Throughput Microfiltration Membranes with Natural Biofouling Reducer Agent for Food Processing
Processes 2019, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7010001 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1627
Abstract
The effect of natural antibiotics Moringa oleifera seeds powder in cellulose acetate membranes as biofouling reducer agent was investigated. Mixed matrix membranes (MMM) were synthesized by adding 100 mesh M. oleifera seeds powder with variation of three concentrations (1 wt%, 2 wt%, and [...] Read more.
The effect of natural antibiotics Moringa oleifera seeds powder in cellulose acetate membranes as biofouling reducer agent was investigated. Mixed matrix membranes (MMM) were synthesized by adding 100 mesh M. oleifera seeds powder with variation of three concentrations (1 wt%, 2 wt%, and 3 wt%), into a mix polymer solution of CA (cellulose acetate) and two different solvents, i.e., DMF (dimethylformamide) and DMAc (dimethylacetamide). The synthesized membranes morphology was observed under scanning electron microscopy and from the images can be seen that the membranes made of DMAc formed rather large macrovoid as compared to DMF-based membranes. The microstructure affected the water flux through the membranes, in which the DMAc membranes provided a higher flux value and served as high-throughput microfiltration membranes. Antibacterial properties of MMM were tested using Escherichia coli adhesion onto membrane surfaces. The results showed that M. oleifera has been proven to eradicate E. coli activity on the membrane surfaces due to interaction between bacterial cells and phenolic compounds from M. oleifera, through absorption processes involving hydrogen bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Membrane-Based Processes: Optimization of Hydrogen Separation by Minimization of Power, Membrane Area, and Cost
Processes 2018, 6(11), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110221 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2187
Abstract
This work deals with the optimization of two-stage membrane systems for H2 separation from off-gases in hydrocarbons processing plants to simultaneously attain high values of both H2 recovery and H2 product purity. First, for a given H2 recovery level [...] Read more.
This work deals with the optimization of two-stage membrane systems for H2 separation from off-gases in hydrocarbons processing plants to simultaneously attain high values of both H2 recovery and H2 product purity. First, for a given H2 recovery level of 90%, optimizations of the total annual cost (TAC) are performed for desired H2 product purity values ranging between 0.90 and 0.95 mole fraction. One of the results showed that the contribution of the operating expenditures is more significant than the contribution of the annualized capital expenditures (approximately 62% and 38%, respectively). In addition, it was found that the optimal trade-offs existing between process variables (such as total membrane area and total electric power) depend on the specified H2 product purity level. Second, the minimization of the total power demand and the minimization of the total membrane area were performed for H2 recovery of 90% and H2 product purity of 0.90. The TAC values obtained in the first and second cases increased by 19.9% and 4.9%, respectively, with respect to that obtained by cost minimization. Finally, by analyzing and comparing the three optimal solutions, a strategy to systematically and rationally provide ‘good’ lower and upper bounds for model variables and initial guess values to solve the cost minimization problem by means of global optimization algorithms is proposed, which can be straightforward applied to other processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Optimal Design of a Two-Stage Membrane System for Hydrogen Separation in Refining Processes
Processes 2018, 6(11), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6110208 - 31 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1472
Abstract
This paper fits into the process system engineering field by addressing the optimization of a two-stage membrane system for H2 separation in refinery processes. To this end, a nonlinear mathematical programming (NLP) model is developed to simultaneously optimize the size of each [...] Read more.
This paper fits into the process system engineering field by addressing the optimization of a two-stage membrane system for H2 separation in refinery processes. To this end, a nonlinear mathematical programming (NLP) model is developed to simultaneously optimize the size of each membrane stage (membrane area, heat transfer area, and installed power for compressors and vacuum pumps) and operating conditions (flow rates, pressures, temperatures, and compositions) to achieve desired target levels of H2 product purity and H2 recovery at a minimum total annual cost. Optimal configuration and process design are obtained from a model which embeds different operating modes and process configurations. For instance, the following candidate ways to create the driving force across the membrane are embedded: (a) compression of both feed and/or permeate streams, or (b) vacuum application in permeate streams, or (c) a combination of (a) and (b). In addition, the potential selection of an expansion turbine to recover energy from the retentate stream (energy recovery system) is also embedded. For a H2 product purity of 0.90 and H2 recovery of 90%, a minimum total annual cost of 1.764 M$·year−1 was obtained for treating 100 kmol·h−1 with 0.18, 0.16, 0.62, and 0.04 mole fraction of H2, CO, N2, CO2, respectively. The optimal solution selected a combination of compression and vacuum to create the driving force and removed the expansion turbine. Afterwards, this optimal solution was compared in terms of costs, process-unit sizes, and operating conditions to the following two sub-optimal solutions: (i) no vacuum in permeate stream is applied, and (ii) the expansion turbine is included into the process. The comparison showed that the latter (ii) has the highest total annual cost (TAC) value, which is around 7% higher than the former (i) and 24% higher than the found optimal solution. Finally, a sensitivity analysis to investigate the influence of the desired H2 product purity and H2 recovery is presented. Opposite cost-based trade-offs between total membrane area and total electric power were observed with the variations of these two model parameters. This paper contributes a valuable decision-support tool in the process system engineering field for designing, simulating, and optimizing membrane-based systems for H2 separation in a particular industrial case; and the presented optimization results provide useful guidelines to assist in selecting the optimal configuration and operating mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Membrane Fouling Characteristics of a Side-Stream Tubular Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) Treating Domestic Wastewater
Processes 2018, 6(5), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6050050 - 05 May 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3408
Abstract
A lab-scale of a side stream anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) equipped with a tubular membrane operated at the mesophilic temperature of 37.0 ± 1.2 °C for treating domestic wastewater was tested to investigate its performance and fouling characteristics at two organic loading rates [...] Read more.
A lab-scale of a side stream anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) equipped with a tubular membrane operated at the mesophilic temperature of 37.0 ± 1.2 °C for treating domestic wastewater was tested to investigate its performance and fouling characteristics at two organic loading rates (OLR) of 0.25 kg COD m−3d−1, and 0.70 kg COD m−3d−1, respectively. The AnMBR was operated for 600 days at sludge retention time (SRT) of 100 days. This AnMBR exhibits excellent chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal of 91% at 0.25 kg COD m−3d−1, and 94% at 0.7 kg COD m−3d−1 respectively, with effluent-soluble COD below 50 mg/L. Chemically-enhanced cleaning method using NaOH, NaOCl, and citric acid solution were introduced for fouling investigation at these two stages. The results showed that sequential chemical cleaning of alkaline and acid were most effective to recover the membrane flux. The alkaline cleaning was effective at removing organic foulants, while citric acid cleaning was effective at removing the scalants. The analyses of the excitation emission matrix, gel permeation chromatography, and extracellular polymeric substances indicated that major components of membrane foulants were proteins, carbohydrates, humic, and fulvic acids. At 0.25 kg COD m−3d−1, organic fouling was more prone to be trapped in the cake layers and responsible for membrane pore blockage, inorganic fouling exhibited marginal contribution to the membrane fouling behavior. However, at 0.70 kg COD m−3d−1, high concentrations of organic and inorganic foulants supported an essential role of organic and inorganic fouling on membrane fouling behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Substrate Effect on Carbon/Ceramic Mixed Matrix Membrane Prepared by a Vacuum-Assisted Method for Desalination
Processes 2018, 6(5), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6050047 - 01 May 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2492
Abstract
This work investigates the effect of various membrane substrates and coating conditions on the formation of carbon/ceramic mixed matrix membranes for desalination application. The substrates were impregnated with phenolic resin via a vacuum-assisted method followed by carbonization under an inert gas. Substrates with [...] Read more.
This work investigates the effect of various membrane substrates and coating conditions on the formation of carbon/ceramic mixed matrix membranes for desalination application. The substrates were impregnated with phenolic resin via a vacuum-assisted method followed by carbonization under an inert gas. Substrates with pore sizes of 100 nm required a single impregnation step only, where short vacuum times (<120 s) resulted in low quality membranes with defects. For vacuum times of ≥120 s, high quality membranes with homogeneous impregnation were prepared leading to high salt rejection (>90%) and high water fluxes (up to 25 L m−2 h−1). The increase in water flux as a function of the vacuum time confirms the vacuum etching effect resulting from the vacuum-assisted method. Substrates with pore sizes of 140 nm required two impregnation steps. These pores were too large for the ceramic inter-particle space to be filled with phenolic resin via a single step. In the second impregnation step, increasing the concentration of the phenolic resin resulted in membranes with lower water fluxes. These results indicate that thicker films were formed by increasing the phenolic resin concentration. In the case of substrates with pores of 600 nm, these pores were too large and inter-particle space filling with phenolic resin was not attained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Recovery of Filtered Graphene Oxide Residue Using Elastic Gel Packed in a Column by Cross Flow
Processes 2018, 6(5), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6050043 - 25 Apr 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2494
Abstract
To recover the filtered residues on a gel layer in a column, the method using the elasticity of the gel layer and flowing water in a cross-flow manner is proposed. Polymerized spherical gel (40 μm) was packed in a column to a set [...] Read more.
To recover the filtered residues on a gel layer in a column, the method using the elasticity of the gel layer and flowing water in a cross-flow manner is proposed. Polymerized spherical gel (40 μm) was packed in a column to a set height of 0.7 cm. The suspensions of graphene oxide at various sizes and shapes were injected on the top of the gel layer and then water was flowed at a flow rate of 1000 mL·h−1 until 0.10 MPa. By releasing the applied pressure, the elastic gel layer rose up, and the filtered graphene oxide also rose above the layer. This rise of the gel layer is due to the difference of pressure between the gel layer, including the filtered graphene oxide, and the open bottom of the column, using the flow of water. The cross flow of water through the column carried away the larger-sized filtered graphene oxide floating above the gel layer. The elasticity of the gel layer and cross flow through the column has the potential to recover the filtered particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Assessment of Industrial Modules to Design a GFMA Process for Cyanide Recovery Based on a Phenomenological Model
Processes 2018, 6(4), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6040034 - 11 Apr 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2987
Abstract
Cyanide recovery in the gold-mining industry is a crucial step in terms of the cost of operation. Currently, a process such as AVR (acidification, volatilization and recycling), based on packed towers for stripping and absorption stages, addresses this issue with high levels of [...] Read more.
Cyanide recovery in the gold-mining industry is a crucial step in terms of the cost of operation. Currently, a process such as AVR (acidification, volatilization and recycling), based on packed towers for stripping and absorption stages, addresses this issue with high levels of investment and operational costs. Gas-filled membrane absorption (GFMA) emerges then as an attractive alternative because the stripping and absorption stages can be performed in a single stage, reducing associated investment and operational costs. Despite the advantages of this technology, applications at industrial scale are still emerging. A possible reason is the lack of clear scaling-up methodologies where experimental data can be taken to select the optimum industrial hollow-fiber membrane contactor module (HFMC). The present study proposes a methodology to select adequately between available industrial Liqui-CelTM modules to design a process under optimal operational conditions. The methodology is based on a phenomenological model developed for recovering cyanide by using the GFMA process. Simulation of the Liqui-CelTM industrial membrane modules employed to recover cyanide in the GFMA process, both in a batch arrangement with a feed-flow rate, and in the range 10–125 m3/h, showed that in terms of cyanide recovery there are no differences between the modules tested when they work at the same feed-flow rate. The design criteria to scale-up was determined: to ensure performance at different scales, the length of the transfer unit (HTU) should be kept at different capacities of HFMC modules that comprise the equipment characteristics (mass-transfer area, stream velocities, and mass-transfer coefficient values). Additionally, the number of commercial modules Liqui-CelTM required to treat 57 m3/h and 250 m3/h ensuring a cyanide recovery of 95% was also determined. Finally, the most profitable option (lower pressure drop and module cost) resulted in the use of the 14 × 40 Liqui-CelTM module. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Article
Dry Reforming of Methane Using a Nickel Membrane Reactor
Processes 2017, 5(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr5040082 - 12 Dec 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4177
Abstract
Dry reforming is a very interesting process for synthesis gas generation from CH4 and CO2 but suffers from low hydrogen yields due to the reverse water–gas shift reaction (WGS). For this reason, membranes are often used for hydrogen separation, which in [...] Read more.
Dry reforming is a very interesting process for synthesis gas generation from CH 4 and CO 2 but suffers from low hydrogen yields due to the reverse water–gas shift reaction (WGS). For this reason, membranes are often used for hydrogen separation, which in turn leads to coke formation at the process temperatures suitable for the membranes. To avoid these problems, this work shows the possibility of using nickel self-supported membranes for hydrogen separation at a temperature of 800 C. The higher temperature effectively suppresses coke formation. The paper features the analysis of the dry reforming reaction in a nickel membrane reactor without additional catalyst. The measurement campaign targeted coke formation and conversion of the methane feedstock. The nickel approximately 50% without hydrogen separation. The hydrogen removal led to an increase in methane conversion to 60–90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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Review

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Review
Mixed Ionic-Electronic Conducting Membranes (MIEC) for Their Application in Membrane Reactors: A Review
Processes 2019, 7(3), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030128 - 01 Mar 2019
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 2753
Abstract
Mixed ionic-electronic conducting membranes have seen significant progress over the last 25 years as efficient ways to obtain oxygen separation from air and for their integration in chemical production systems where pure oxygen in small amounts is needed. Perovskite materials are the most [...] Read more.
Mixed ionic-electronic conducting membranes have seen significant progress over the last 25 years as efficient ways to obtain oxygen separation from air and for their integration in chemical production systems where pure oxygen in small amounts is needed. Perovskite materials are the most employed materials for membrane preparation. However, they have poor phase stability and are prone to poisoning when subjected to CO2 and SO2, which limits their industrial application. To solve this, the so-called dual-phase membranes are attracting greater attention. In this review, recent advances on self-supported and supported oxygen membranes and factors that affect the oxygen permeation and membrane stability are presented. Possible ways for further improvements that can be pursued to increase the oxygen permeation rate are also indicated. Lastly, an overview of the most relevant examples of membrane reactors in which oxygen membranes have been integrated are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials, Performance and Processes)
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