Engineering the Re-Entrant Hierarchy and Surface Energy of PDMS-PVDF Membrane for Membrane Distillation Using a Facile and Benign Microsphere Coating

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, 51 (17), pp. 10117 - 10126
Issue Date:
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© 2017 American Chemical Society. To consolidate the position of membrane distillation (MD) as an emerging membrane technology that meets global water challenges, it is crucial to develop membranes with ideal material properties. This study reports a facile approach for a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane surface modification that is achieved through the coating of the surface with poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) polymeric microspheres to lower the membrane surface energy. The hierarchical surface of the microspheres was built without any assistance of a nano/microcomposite by combining the rapid evaporation of tetrahydrofuran (THF) and the phase separation from condensed water vapor. The fabricated membrane exhibited superhydrophobicity - a high contact angle of 156.9° and a low contact-angle hysteresis of 11.3° - and a high wetting resistance to seawater containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). Compared with the control PVDF-hexafluoropropylene (HFP) single-layer nanofiber membrane, the proposed fabricated membrane with the polymeric microsphere layer showed a smaller pore size and higher liquid entry pressure (LEP). When it was tested for the direct-contact MD (DCMD) in terms of the desalination of seawater (3.5% of NaCl) containing SDS of a progressively increased concentration, the fabricated membrane showed stable desalination and partial wetting for the 0.1 and 0.2 mM SDS, respectively.
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