W5ater desalination using graphene-enhanced electrospun nanofiber membrane via air gap membrane distillation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Membrane Science, 2016, 520 pp. 99 - 110
Issue Date:
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© 2016 This study demonstrates the preparation and desalination performance via air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) of a graphene-loaded electrospun nanofiber membrane. Different concentrations of graphene (0–10 wt%) were incorporated in/on electrospun polyvinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene (PH) membrane to obtain a robust, and superhydrophobic nanocomposite membrane. The results showed that graphene incorporation has significantly enhanced the membrane structure and properties with an optimal concentration of 5 wt% (i.e., G5PH). Characterization of G5PH revealed membrane porosity of >88%, contact angle of >162° (superhydrophobic), and high liquid entry pressure (LEP) of >186 kPa. These favourable properties led to a high and stable AGMD flux of 22.9 L/m2 h or LMH (compared with ~4.8 LMH for the commercial PVDF flat-sheet membrane) and excellent salt rejection (100%) for 60 h of operation using 3.5 wt% NaCl solution as feed (feed and coolant inlet temperatures of 60 and 20 °C, respectively). A two-dimensional dynamic model to investigate the flux profile of the graphene/PH membrane is also introduced. The present study suggests that exploiting the interesting properties of nanofibers and graphene nanofillers through a facile electrospinning technique provides high potential towards the fabrication of a robust and high-performance AGMD membrane.
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