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Membranes, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 70 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The development of highly porous and thin separator is a great challenge for lithium-ion batteries. However, the inevitable safety issues always caused by poor mechanical integrity and internal short circuits of the thin separator must be addressed before this type of separator can be applied to lithium-ion batteries. Here, we developed a novel multilayer poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) membrane with a highly porous and lamellar structure, through a combination of evaporation-induced phase separation and selective solvent etching methods. The developed membrane is capable of a greater amount of electrolyte uptake and excellent electrolyte retention resulting from its superior electrolyte wettability and highly porous structure, thereby offering better electrochemical performance compared to that of a commercial polyolefin separator (Ce lgard). View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Sensitivity Analysis of the Forward Osmosis Process to Predict Membrane Flux Using a Novel Combination of Neural Network and Response Surface Methodology Techniques
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 70; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010070 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
The forward osmosis (FO) process is an emerging technology that has been considered as an alternative to desalination due to its low energy consumption and less severe reversible fouling. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) and response surface methodology (RSM) have become popular for the [...] Read more.
The forward osmosis (FO) process is an emerging technology that has been considered as an alternative to desalination due to its low energy consumption and less severe reversible fouling. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) and response surface methodology (RSM) have become popular for the modeling and optimization of membrane processes. RSM requires the data on a specific experimental design whereas ANN does not. In this work, a combined ANN-RSM approach is presented to predict and optimize the membrane flux for the FO process. The ANN model, developed based on an experimental study, is used to predict the membrane flux for the experimental design in order to create the RSM model for optimization. A Box–Behnken design (BBD) is used to develop a response surface design where the ANN model evaluates the responses. The input variables were osmotic pressure difference, feed solution (FS) velocity, draw solution (DS) velocity, FS temperature, and DS temperature. The R2 obtained for the developed ANN and RSM model are 0.98036 and 0.9408, respectively. The weights of the ANN model and the response surface plots were used to optimize and study the influence of the operating conditions on the membrane flux. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Commercial Pressure Retarded Osmosis Systems for Seawater Desalination Plants
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 69; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010069 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 465
Abstract
The development of renewable energy technologies is of global importance. To realize a sustainable society, fossil-resource-independent technologies, such as solar- and wind-power generation, should be widely adopted. Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is one such potential renewable energy technology. PRO requires salt water and [...] Read more.
The development of renewable energy technologies is of global importance. To realize a sustainable society, fossil-resource-independent technologies, such as solar- and wind-power generation, should be widely adopted. Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is one such potential renewable energy technology. PRO requires salt water and fresh water, both of which can be found at seawater desalination plants. The total power generation capacity of PRO, using concentrated seawater and fresh water, is 3 GW. A large amount of energy is required for seawater desalination; therefore, the introduction of renewable energy should be prioritized. Kyowakiden Industry Co., Ltd., has been working on introducing PRO to seawater desalination plants since 2001 and is attracting attention for its ongoing PRO pilot plant with a scale of 460 m3/d, using concentrated seawater and treated sewage water. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of introducing PRO in existing desalination plants. The feasibility was examined based on technology, operation, and economy. Based on the number of seawater desalination plants in each country and the electricity charges, it was determined whether the introduction of PRO would be viable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Membranes in 2020
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010068 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Membranes maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Evaluations of Hydrogen Diffusivity in V-X (X = Cr, Al, Pd) Alloy Membranes Based on Hydrogen Chemical Potential
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010067 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 318
Abstract
Vanadium (V) has higher hydrogen permeability than Pd-based alloy membranes but exhibits poor resistance to hydrogen-induced embrittlement. The alloy elements are added to reduce hydrogen solubility and prevent hydrogen-induced embrittlement. To enhance hydrogen permeability, the alloy elements which improve hydrogen diffusivity in V [...] Read more.
Vanadium (V) has higher hydrogen permeability than Pd-based alloy membranes but exhibits poor resistance to hydrogen-induced embrittlement. The alloy elements are added to reduce hydrogen solubility and prevent hydrogen-induced embrittlement. To enhance hydrogen permeability, the alloy elements which improve hydrogen diffusivity in V are more suitable. In the present study, hydrogen diffusivity in V-Cr, V-Al, and V-Pd alloy membranes was investigated in view of the hydrogen chemical potential and compared with the previously reported results of V-Fe alloy membranes. The additions of Cr and Fe to V improved the mobility of hydrogen atoms. In contrast, those of Al and Pd decreased hydrogen diffusivity. The first principle calculations revealed that the hydrogen atoms cannot occupy the first-nearest neighbor T sites (T1 sites) of Al and Pd in the V crystal lattice. These blocking effects will be a dominant contributor to decreasing hydrogen diffusivity by the additions of Al and Pd. For V-based alloy membranes, Fe and Cr are more suitable alloy elements compared with Al and Pd in view of hydrogen diffusivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Hydrogen Permeable Metal Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle
Polysulfone–Polyvinyl Pyrrolidone Blend Polymer Composite Membranes for Batik Industrial Wastewater Treatment
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010066 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Batik wastewater, in general, is colored and has high concentrations of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), and dissolved and suspended solids. Polysulfone (PSf)-based membranes with the addition of polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) were prepared to treat batik industrial wastewater. PSf/PVP membranes [...] Read more.
Batik wastewater, in general, is colored and has high concentrations of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), and dissolved and suspended solids. Polysulfone (PSf)-based membranes with the addition of polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) were prepared to treat batik industrial wastewater. PSf/PVP membranes were prepared using the phase inversion method with N-methyl-2 pyrrolidone (NMP) as the solvent. Based on the membrane characterization through FESEM, water contact angle, porosity, and mechanical tests showed a phenomenon where the addition of PVP provided thermodynamic and kinetic effects on membrane formation, thereby affecting porosity, thickness, and hydrophilicity of the membranes. The study aims to observe the effect of adding PVP on polysulfone membrane permeability and antifouling performance on a laboratory scale through the ultrafiltration (UF) process. With the addition of PVP, the operational pressure of the polysulfone membrane was reduced compared to that without PVP. Based on the membrane filtration results, the highest removal efficiencies of COD, TDS (total dissolved solid), and conductivity achieved in the study were 80.4, 84.6, and 83.6%, respectively, on the PSf/PVP 0.35 membrane operated at 4 bar. Moreover, the highest color removal efficiency was 85.73% on the PSf/PVP 0.25 operated at 5 bar. The antifouling performance was identified by calculating the value of total, reversible, and irreversible membrane fouling, wherein in this study, the membrane with the best antifouling performance was PSf/PVP 0.25. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Membrane Materials and Membrane Processes)
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Open AccessArticle
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://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010065 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 398
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
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
SARS-CoV-2 Cellular Infection and Therapeutic Opportunities: Lessons Learned from Ebola Virus
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010064 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 486
Abstract
Viruses rely on the cellular machinery to replicate and propagate within newly infected individuals. Thus, viral entry into the host cell sets up the stage for productive infection and disease progression. Different viruses exploit distinct cellular receptors for viral entry; however, numerous viral [...] Read more.
Viruses rely on the cellular machinery to replicate and propagate within newly infected individuals. Thus, viral entry into the host cell sets up the stage for productive infection and disease progression. Different viruses exploit distinct cellular receptors for viral entry; however, numerous viral internalization mechanisms are shared by very diverse viral families. Such is the case of Ebola virus (EBOV), which belongs to the filoviridae family, and the recently emerged coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. These two highly pathogenic viruses can exploit very similar endocytic routes to productively infect target cells. This convergence has sped up the experimental assessment of clinical therapies against SARS-CoV-2 previously found to be effective for EBOV, and facilitated their expedited clinical testing. Here we review how the viral entry processes and subsequent replication and egress strategies of EBOV and SARS-CoV-2 can overlap, and how our previous knowledge on antivirals, antibodies, and vaccines against EBOV has boosted the search for effective countermeasures against the new coronavirus. As preparedness is key to contain forthcoming pandemics, lessons learned over the years by combating life-threatening viruses should help us to quickly deploy effective tools against novel emerging viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Membranes in Life Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of a Micro-Scale Membrane Reactor for Greywater Treatment at Household Level
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010063 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 626
Abstract
An aerated membrane reactor (25 L working volume) equipped with 1.5 m2 hollow-fiber module was designed and operated using synthetic greywater for household water reuse. Activated sludge (MBR), activated carbon (PAC), zeolite (ZEO) and iron hydroxide (GEH) were added in separate experiments [...] Read more.
An aerated membrane reactor (25 L working volume) equipped with 1.5 m2 hollow-fiber module was designed and operated using synthetic greywater for household water reuse. Activated sludge (MBR), activated carbon (PAC), zeolite (ZEO) and iron hydroxide (GEH) were added in separate experiments to optimize membrane hydraulic performance and removal efficiency of organics. The use of additives improved permeate quality (in terms of Chemical Oxygen Demand—COD) compared to the direct membrane filtration mode of operation. GEH and MBR were efficient for phosphorus removal, which was not the case for PAC and ZEO. No significant improvement of membrane flux was recorded when PAC, ZEO or GEH were added inside the membrane tank. The MBR system displayed optimum performance during medium-term operation, with COD removal efficiency 85% and permeate flux between 40 and 25 L m−2 h−1. The capital costs of the proposed technology were around 300 € and the operational costs below 80 € yr−1, rendering the process feasible at household level. Greywater treatment systems for household applications are still on their infancy; however, this trend is expected to change due public perception towards circular economy, water conservation and reuse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Membrane Bioreactors)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Evaluation of Polihexanide, Octenidine and NaClO/HClO-Based Antiseptics against Biofilm Formed by Wound Pathogens
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010062 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Chronic wounds complicated with biofilm formed by pathogens remain one of the most significant challenges of contemporary medicine. The application of topical antiseptic solutions against wound biofilm has been gaining increasing interest among clinical practitioners and scientific researchers. This paper compares the activity [...] Read more.
Chronic wounds complicated with biofilm formed by pathogens remain one of the most significant challenges of contemporary medicine. The application of topical antiseptic solutions against wound biofilm has been gaining increasing interest among clinical practitioners and scientific researchers. This paper compares the activity of polyhexanide-, octenidine- and hypochlorite/hypochlorous acid-based antiseptics against biofilm formed by clinical strains of Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The analyses included both standard techniques utilizing polystyrene plates and self-designed biocellulose-based models in which a biofilm formed by pathogens was formed on an elastic, fibrinous surface covered with a fibroblast layer. The obtained results show high antibiofilm activity of polihexanide- and octenidine-based antiseptics and lack or weak antibiofilm activity of hypochlorite-based antiseptic of total chlorine content equal to 80 parts per million. The data presented in this paper indicate that polihexanide- or octenidine-based antiseptics are highly useful in the treatment of biofilm, while hypochlorite-based antiseptics with low chlorine content may be applied for wound rinsing but not when specific antibiofilm activity is required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Remediation of Volatile Organic Compounds Using Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes—A Field Study
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010061 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Groundwater contamination by chlorinated hydrocarbons represents a particularly difficult separation to achieve and very little is published on the subject. In this paper, we explore the potential for the removal of chlorinated volatile and non-volatile organics from a site in Bedfordshire UK. The [...] Read more.
Groundwater contamination by chlorinated hydrocarbons represents a particularly difficult separation to achieve and very little is published on the subject. In this paper, we explore the potential for the removal of chlorinated volatile and non-volatile organics from a site in Bedfordshire UK. The compounds of interest include trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), 2,2-dichloropropane (DCP) and vinyl chloride (VC). The separations were first tested in the laboratory. Microfiltration membranes were of no use in this separation. Nanofiltration membranes performed well and rejections of 70–93% were observed for synthetic solutions and up to 100% for real groundwater samples. Site trials were limited by space and power availability, which resulted in a maximum operating pressure of only 3 bar. Under these conditions, the nanofiltration membrane removed organic materials, but failed to remove VOCs to any significant extent. Initial results with a reverse osmosis membrane were positive, with 93% removal of the VOCs. However, subsequent samples taken demonstrated little removal. Several hypotheses were presented to explain this behavior and the most likely cause of the issue was fouling leading to adsorption of the VOCs onto the membrane and allowing passage through the membrane matrix. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Silver-Loaded Composite Track-Etched Membranes for Photocatalytic Decomposition of Methylene Blue under Visible Light
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010060 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 331
Abstract
In this study, the use of composite track-etched membranes (TeMs) based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and electrolessly deposited silver microtubes (MTs) for the decomposition of toxic phenothiazine cationic dye, methylene blue (MB), under visible light was investigated. The structure and composition of the [...] Read more.
In this study, the use of composite track-etched membranes (TeMs) based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and electrolessly deposited silver microtubes (MTs) for the decomposition of toxic phenothiazine cationic dye, methylene blue (MB), under visible light was investigated. The structure and composition of the composite membranes were elucidated by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction technique. Under visible light irradiation, composite membrane with embedded silver MTs (Ag/PET) displayed high photocatalytic efficiency. The effects of various parameters such as initial dye concentration, temperature, and sample exposure time on the photocatalytic degradation process were studied. The decomposition reaction of MB was found to follow the Langmuir–Hinshelwood mechanism and a pseudo-first-order kinetic model. The degradation kinetics of MB accelerated with increasing temperature and activation energy, Ea, was calculated to be 20.6 kJ/mol. The reusability of the catalyst was also investigated for 11 consecutive runs without any activation and regeneration procedures. The Ag/PET composite performed at high degradation efficiency of over 68% after 11 consecutive uses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Track-etched Membranes: Formation Features and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Green Synthesis Process on Asymmetric Hybrid PDMS Membrane for Efficient CO2/N2 Separation
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010059 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 348
Abstract
The effects of green processes in hybrid polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membranes on CO2 separation have received little attention to date. The effective CO2 separation of the membranes is believed to be controlled by the reaction and curing process. In this study, hybrid [...] Read more.
The effects of green processes in hybrid polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membranes on CO2 separation have received little attention to date. The effective CO2 separation of the membranes is believed to be controlled by the reaction and curing process. In this study, hybrid PDMS membranes were fabricated on ceramic substrates using the water-in-emulsion method and evaluated for their gas transport properties. The effects of the tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) concentration and curing temperature on the morphology and CO2 separation performance were investigated. The viscosity measurement showed that, at specific reaction times, it is benefit beneficial to fabricate the symmetric hybrid PDMS membranes with a uniform and dense selective layer on the substrate. Moreover, the a high TEOS concentration can decrease the reaction time and obtain create the a fully crosslinked structure, allowing more efficient CO2/N2 separation. The separation performance was furtherly improved with in the membrane prepared at a high curing temperature of 120 °C. The developed membrane shows excellent CO2/N2 separation with a CO2 permeance of 27.7 ± 1.3 GPU and a CO2/N2 selectivity of 10.3 ± 0.3. Moreover, the membrane shows a stable gas separation performance of up to 5 bar of pressure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Molecular Permeation through Mixed-Matrix Membranes Incorporating Tubular Fillers
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010058 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 330
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
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Oily Vehicle Composition and Vehicle-Membrane Interactions on the Diffusion of Model Permeants across Barrier Membranes
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010057 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 360
Abstract
In many instances, one or more components of a pharmaceutical or cosmetic formulation is an oil. The aims of this study were two-fold. First, to examine the potential of preferential uptake of one oily vehicle component over another into a model barrier membrane [...] Read more.
In many instances, one or more components of a pharmaceutical or cosmetic formulation is an oil. The aims of this study were two-fold. First, to examine the potential of preferential uptake of one oily vehicle component over another into a model barrier membrane (silicone) from blended vehicles (comprising two from the common excipients isohexadecane (IHD), hexadecane (HD), isopropyl myristate (IPM), oleic acid (OA) and liquid paraffin). Second, to study the effect of membrane-vehicle interactions on the diffusion of model permeants (caffeine (CF), methyl paraben (MP) and butyl paraben (BP)) from blended vehicles. Selective sorption and partition of some oils (especially IHD and IPM) at the expense of other oils (such as OA) was demonstrated to take place. For example, the membrane composition of IHD was enriched compared to a donor solution of IHD-OA: 41%, 63% and 82% IHD, compared to donor solution composition of 25%, 50% and 75% IHD, respectively. Pre-soaking the membrane in IHD, HD or LP, rather than phosphate buffer, enhanced the flux of MP through the membrane by 2.6, 1.7 and 1.3 times, respectively. The preferential sorption of individual oil components from mixtures altered the barrier properties of silicone membrane, and enhanced the permeation of CF, MP and BP, which are typically co-formulated in topical products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of PEI Hollow Fiber Substrate Characteristics on PDMS/PEI Hollow Fiber Membranes for CO2/N2 Separation
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010056 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 350
Abstract
The CO2 separation from flue gas based on membrane technology has drawn great attention in the last few decades. In this work, polyetherimide (PEI) hollow fibers were fabricated by using a dry-jet-wet spinning technique. Subsequently, the composite hollow fiber membranes were prepared [...] Read more.
The CO2 separation from flue gas based on membrane technology has drawn great attention in the last few decades. In this work, polyetherimide (PEI) hollow fibers were fabricated by using a dry-jet-wet spinning technique. Subsequently, the composite hollow fiber membranes were prepared by dip coating of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) selective layer on the outer surface of PEI hollow fibers. The hollow fibers spun from various spinning conditions were fully characterized. The influence of hollow fiber substrates on the CO2/N2 separation performance of PDMS/PEI composite membranes was estimated by gas permeance and ideal selectivity. The prepared composite membrane where the hollow fiber substrate was spun from 20 wt% of dope solution, 12 mL/min of bore fluid (water) flow rate exhibited the highest ideal selectivity equal to 21.3 with CO2 permeance of 59 GPU. It was found that the dope concentration, bore fluid flow rate and bore fluid composition affect the porous structure, surface morphology and dimension of hollow fibers. The bore fluid composition significantly influenced the gas permeance and ideal selectivity of the PDMS/PEI composite membrane. The prepared PDMS/PEI composite membranes possess comparable CO2/N2 separation performance to literature ones. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Pectinolytic Enzyme Pretreatment on the Clarification of Cranberry Juice by Ultrafiltration
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010055 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Cranberries, mainly processed as juice, have garnered interest over the past decade due to their high content of phytochemical compounds related to promising health benefits. To meet consumer expectations, a juice clarification step is usually incorporated to remove suspended solids. The use of [...] Read more.
Cranberries, mainly processed as juice, have garnered interest over the past decade due to their high content of phytochemical compounds related to promising health benefits. To meet consumer expectations, a juice clarification step is usually incorporated to remove suspended solids. The use of pectinolytic enzyme and membrane processes are commonly applied to the production of clarified juices, but no studies have been done on cranberry juice. In this study, the effects of 60 (D60) and 120 min (D120) of depectinization by pectinolytic enzymes coupled to clarification by ultrafiltration (UF) (membrane molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of 50, 100 and 500 kDa) was evaluated on the filtration performance, membrane fouling and cranberry juice composition. Compared to fresh juice, depectinization for 60 and 120 min reduced the UF duration by 16.7 and 20 min, respectively. The best filtration performance, in terms of permeate fluxes, was obtained with the 500 kDa MWCO UF membrane despite the highest total flux decline (41.5 to 57.6%). The fouling layer at the membrane surface was composed of polyphenols and anthocyanins. Compared to fresh juice, anthocyanin decreased (44% and 58% for D60 and D120, respectively) in depectinized juices whereas proanthocyanidin (PAC) content increased by 16%. In view of the industrial application, a 60 min depectinization coupled to clarification by a 500 kDa UF membrane could be viewed as a good compromise between the enhancement of filtration performance and the loss of polyphenols and their fouling at the membrane surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Technologies for Sustainable Biofood Production Lines)
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Open AccessCase Report
Numerical Modelling Assisted Design of a Compact Ultrafiltration (UF) Flat Sheet Membrane Module
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010054 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 338
Abstract
The increasing adoption of ultra-low pressure (ULP) membrane systems for drinking water treatment in small rural communities is currently hindered by a limited number of studies on module design. Detailed knowledge on both intrinsic membrane transport properties and fluid hydrodynamics within the module [...] Read more.
The increasing adoption of ultra-low pressure (ULP) membrane systems for drinking water treatment in small rural communities is currently hindered by a limited number of studies on module design. Detailed knowledge on both intrinsic membrane transport properties and fluid hydrodynamics within the module is essential in understanding ULP performance prediction, mass transfer analysis for scaling-up between lab-scale and industrial scale research. In comparison to hollow fiber membranes, flat sheet membranes present certain advantages such as simple manufacture, sheet replacement for cleaning, moderate packing density and low to moderate energy usage. In the present case study, a numerical model using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of a novel custom flat sheet membrane module has been designed in 3D to predict fluid flow conditions. The permeate flux through the membrane decreased with an increase in spacer curviness from 2.81 L/m2h for no (0%) curviness to 2.73 L/m2h for full (100%) curviness. A parametric analysis on configuration variables was carried out to determine the optimum design variables and no significant influence of spacer inflow or outflow thickness on the fluid flow were observed. The numerical model provides the necessary information on the role of geometrical and operating parameters for fabricating a module prototype where access to technical expertise is limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane-Assisted (Bio)Chemical Process and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrical Properties of Membrane Phospholipids in Langmuir Monolayers
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010053 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Experimental surface pressure (π) and electric surface potential (ΔV) isotherms were measured for membrane lipids, including the following phosphatidylcholines (PCs)—1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC); 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC); 1,2-diarachidoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DAPC); and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC). In addition, other phospholipids, such as phosphatidylethanolamines (represented by 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine [...] Read more.
Experimental surface pressure (π) and electric surface potential (ΔV) isotherms were measured for membrane lipids, including the following phosphatidylcholines (PCs)—1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC); 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC); 1,2-diarachidoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DAPC); and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC). In addition, other phospholipids, such as phosphatidylethanolamines (represented by 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DPPE)) and sphingolipids (represented by N-(hexadecanoyl)-sphing-4-enine-1-phosphocholine (SM)) were also studied. The experimental apparent dipole moments (μAexp) of the abovementioned lipids were determined using the Helmholtz equation. The particular contributions to the apparent dipole moments of the investigated molecules connected with their polar (μp) and apolar parts (μa) were theoretically calculated for geometrically optimized systems. Using a three-layer capacitor model, introducing the group’s apparent dipole moments (calculated herein) and adopting values from other papers to account for the reorientation of water molecules (μw/εw), as well as the for the local dielectric permittivity in the vicinity of the polar (εp) and apolar (εa) groups, the apparent dipole moments of the investigated molecules were calculated (μAcalc). Since the comparison of the two values (experimental and calculated) resulted in large discrepancies, we developed a new methodology that correlates the results from density functional theory (DFT) molecular modeling with experimentally determined values using multiple linear regression. From the fitted model, the following contributions to the apparent dipole moments were determined: μw/εw=1.8±1.4 D; εp=10.2±7.0 and εa=0.95±0.52). Local dielectric permittivity in the vicinity of apolar groups (εa) is much lower compared to that in the vicinity of polar moieties (εp), which is in line with the tendency observed by other authors studying simple molecules with small polar groups. A much higher value for the contributions from the reorientation of water molecules (μw/εw) has been interpreted as resulting from bulky and strongly hydrated polar groups of phospholipids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrical Properties of Model Lipid Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle
Condensing Effect of Cholesterol on hBest1/POPC and hBest1/SM Langmuir Monolayers
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 52; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010052 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Human bestrophin-1 protein (hBest1) is a transmembrane channel associated with the calcium-dependent transport of chloride ions in the retinal pigment epithelium as well as with the transport of glutamate and GABA in nerve cells. Interactions between hBest1, sphingomyelins, phosphatidylcholines and cholesterol are crucial [...] Read more.
Human bestrophin-1 protein (hBest1) is a transmembrane channel associated with the calcium-dependent transport of chloride ions in the retinal pigment epithelium as well as with the transport of glutamate and GABA in nerve cells. Interactions between hBest1, sphingomyelins, phosphatidylcholines and cholesterol are crucial for hBest1 association with cell membrane domains and its biological functions. As cholesterol plays a key role in the formation of lipid rafts, motional ordering of lipids and modeling/remodeling of the lateral membrane structure, we examined the effect of different cholesterol concentrations on the surface tension of hBest1/POPC (1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine) and hBest1/SM Langmuir monolayers in the presence/absence of Ca2+ ions using surface pressure measurements and Brewster angle microscopy studies. Here, we report that cholesterol: (1) has negligible condensing effect on pure hBest1 monolayers detected mainly in the presence of Ca2+ ions, and; (2) induces a condensing effect on composite hBest1/POPC and hBest1/SM monolayers. These results offer evidence for the significance of intermolecular protein–lipid interactions for the conformational dynamics of hBest1 and its biological functions as multimeric ion channel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Domains on Protein-Lipid Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Degradation of PSF-PUR Blend Hollow Fiber Membranes—Assessment of Changes in Properties and Morphology after Hydrolysis
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010051 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
In this study, we focused on obtaining polysulfone-polyurethane (PSF-PUR) blend partly degradable hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) with different compositions while maintaining a constant PSF:PUR = 8:2 weight ratio. It was carried out through hydrolysis, and evaluation of the properties and morphology before and [...] Read more.
In this study, we focused on obtaining polysulfone-polyurethane (PSF-PUR) blend partly degradable hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) with different compositions while maintaining a constant PSF:PUR = 8:2 weight ratio. It was carried out through hydrolysis, and evaluation of the properties and morphology before and after the hydrolysis process while maintaining a constant cut-off. The obtained membranes were examined for changes in ultrafiltration coefficient (UFC), retention, weight loss, morphology assessment using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and MeMoExplorer™ Software, as well as using the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) method. The results of the study showed an increase in the UFC value after the hydrolysis process, changes in retention, mass loss, and FT-IR spectra. The evaluation in MeMoExplorer™ Software showed the changes in membranes’ morphology. It was confirmed that polyurethane (PUR) was partially degraded, the percentage of ester bonds has an influence on the degradation process, and PUR can be used as a pore precursor instead of superbly known polymers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes for Environmental Applications 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetic/Polyetherimide-Acrylonitrile Composite Nanofibers for Nickel Ion Removal from Aqueous Solution
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010050 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
In this study, a magnetic/polyetherimide-acrylonitrile composite nanofiber membrane with effective adsorption of nickel ions in an aqueous solution was created using a simple electrospinning method. Iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) were stirred and ultrasonically dispersed into a polyetherimide-acrylonitrile solution to create a homogenous NPs [...] Read more.
In this study, a magnetic/polyetherimide-acrylonitrile composite nanofiber membrane with effective adsorption of nickel ions in an aqueous solution was created using a simple electrospinning method. Iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) were stirred and ultrasonically dispersed into a polyetherimide-acrylonitrile solution to create a homogenous NPs suspension, which was placed in an electrospinning machine to produce a uniform and smooth nanofiber composite membrane. Nanoparticle incorporation into this membrane was confirmed using scanning electron microscope, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and NPs aqueous stability from a leaching test. The high adsorption capability of the membrane on nickel ions was attributed to the combination of magnetic NPs, polyetherimide-acrylonitrile matrix, and the nanostructure of the membrane. A membrane containing magnetic NPs demonstrated the maximum adsorption capabilities (102 mg/g) of nickel ions in an aqueous solution. Various kinetic and isotherm models were applied to understand the adsorption behavior, such as pseudo-second-order kinetic and Langmuir isotherm models. A polyetherimide-acrylonitrile composite nanofiber membrane containing magnetic NPs could be used as an environmentally friendly and nontoxic adsorbent for the removal of nickel ions in an aqueous medium due to its ease of preparation and use and stability in aqueous mediums. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sulfonyl Imide Acid-Functionalized Membranes via Ni (0) Catalyzed Carbon-Carbon Coupling Polymerization for Fuel Cells
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010049 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 560
Abstract
Polymer membranes, having improved conductivity with enhanced thermal and chemical stability, are desirable for proton exchange membranes fuel cell application. Hence, poly(benzophenone)s membranes (SI-PBP) containing super gas-phase acidic sulfonyl imide groups have been prepared from 2,5-dichlorobenzophenone (DCBP) monomer by C-C coupling polymerization using [...] Read more.
Polymer membranes, having improved conductivity with enhanced thermal and chemical stability, are desirable for proton exchange membranes fuel cell application. Hence, poly(benzophenone)s membranes (SI-PBP) containing super gas-phase acidic sulfonyl imide groups have been prepared from 2,5-dichlorobenzophenone (DCBP) monomer by C-C coupling polymerization using Ni (0) catalyst. The entirely aromatic C-C coupled polymer backbones of the SI-PBP membranes provide exceptional dimensional stability with rational ion exchange capacity (IEC) from 1.85 to 2.30 mS/cm. The as-synthesized SI-PBP membranes provide enhanced proton conductivity (107.07 mS/cm) compared to Nafion 211® (104.5 mS/cm). The notable thermal and chemical stability of the SI-PBP membranes have been assessed by the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fenton’s test, respectively. The well distinct surface morphology of the SI-PBP membranes has been confirmed by the atomic force microscopy (AFM). These results of SI-PBP membranes comply with all the requirements for fuel cell applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Electrolyte Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle
How Insertion of a Single Tryptophan in the N-Terminus of a Cecropin A-Melittin Hybrid Peptide Changes Its Antimicrobial and Biophysical Profile
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010048 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
In the era of antibiotic resistance, there is an urgent need for efficient antibiotic therapies to fight bacterial infections. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMP) are promising lead compounds given their membrane-targeted mechanism of action, and high affinity towards the anionic composition of bacterial membranes. [...] Read more.
In the era of antibiotic resistance, there is an urgent need for efficient antibiotic therapies to fight bacterial infections. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMP) are promising lead compounds given their membrane-targeted mechanism of action, and high affinity towards the anionic composition of bacterial membranes. We present a new CAMP, W-BP100, derived from the highly active BP100, holding an additional tryptophan at the N-terminus. W-BP100 showed a broader antibacterial activity, demonstrating a potent activity against Gram-positive strains. Revealing a high partition constant towards anionic over zwitterionic large unilamellar vesicles and inducing membrane saturation at a high peptide/lipid ratio, W-BP100 has a preferential location for hydrophobic environments. Contrary to BP100, almost no aggregation of anionic vesicles is observed around saturation conditions and at higher concentrations no aggregation is observed. With these results, it is possible to state that with the incorporation of a single tryptophan to the N-terminus, a highly active peptide was obtained due to the π–electron system of tryptophan, resulting in negatively charged clouds, that participate in cation–π interactions with lysine residues. Furthermore, we propose that W-BP100 action can be achieved by electrostatic interactions followed by peptide translocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Study on Drug-Membrane Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Interdependence of Contributing Factors Governing Dead-End Fouling of Nanofiltration Membranes
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 47; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010047 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Cake-enhanced concentration polarization (CECP) has been ascribed as the main cause of flux decline in dead-end filtration. An unfamiliar approach was used to investigate the role of CECP effects in the fouling of a nanofiltration membrane (NF-270) that poorly reject salts. Membrane–foulant affinity [...] Read more.
Cake-enhanced concentration polarization (CECP) has been ascribed as the main cause of flux decline in dead-end filtration. An unfamiliar approach was used to investigate the role of CECP effects in the fouling of a nanofiltration membrane (NF-270) that poorly reject salts. Membrane–foulant affinity interaction energies were calculated from measured contact angles of foulants and membrane coupons based on the van der Waals/acid–base approach, and linked to resistance due to adsorption (Ra). In addition, other fouling mechanisms and resistance parameters were investigated using model organic and colloidal foulants. After selection, the foulants and membranes were characterized for various properties, and fouling experiments were conducted under controlled conditions. The fouled membranes were further characterized to gain more understanding of the fouling layer properties and flux decline mechanisms. Sodium alginate and latex greatly reduced membrane permeate flux as the flux declined by 86% and 59%, respectively, while there was minor flux decline when aluminum oxide was used as model foulant (<15% flux decline). More flux decline was noted when fouling was conducted with a combination of organic and colloidal foulants. Contrary to other studies, the addition of calcium did not seem to influence individual and combined fouling trends. Foulants adsorbed more on the membrane surface as the membrane–foulant affinity interactions became more attractive and pore blocking by the foulants was not important for these experiments. Hydraulic resistance due to cake formation (Rc) had a higher contributing effect on flux decline, while CECP effects were not substantial. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inactivation of E. coli Using Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jet with Dry and Wet Argon Discharges
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010046 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The acceleration of inactivating viable cells of Escherichia coli (E. coli), by using new direct and indirect innovative methods, is the targeted method of using an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) operated by an AC high-voltage power source with variable frequency [...] Read more.
The acceleration of inactivating viable cells of Escherichia coli (E. coli), by using new direct and indirect innovative methods, is the targeted method of using an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) operated by an AC high-voltage power source with variable frequency up to 60 kHz and voltage ranging from 2.5 to 25 kV. Discharges using dry argon (0% O2) discharges and different wet argon discharges using admixtures with O2/Ar ratios ranging from 0.25% to 1.5% were studied. The combined effects of dry and wet argon discharges, direct and indirect exposure using a mesh controller, and hollow magnets were studied to reach a complete bacterial inactivation in short application times. Survival curves showed that the inactivation rate increased as the wettability increased. The application of magnetized non-thermal plasma discharge with a 1.5% wetness ratio causes a fast inactivation rate of microbes on surfaces, and a dramatic decrease of the residual survival of the bacterial ratio due to an increase in the jet width and the enhanced ability of fast transport of the charges to viable cells, especially at the edge of the Petri dish. The membrane damage of E. coli mechanism factors in the activation process by APPJ is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Surface Modification and Functionalization)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Resin Chemistries on the Selective Removal of Industrially Relevant Metal Ions Using Wafer-Enhanced Electrodeionization
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 45; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010045 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 309
Abstract
Wafer-enhanced electrodeionization (WE-EDI) is an electrically driven separations technology that occurs under the influence of an applied electric field and heavily depends on ion exchange resin chemistry. Unlike filtration processes, WE-EDI can be used to selectively remove ions even from high concentration systems. [...] Read more.
Wafer-enhanced electrodeionization (WE-EDI) is an electrically driven separations technology that occurs under the influence of an applied electric field and heavily depends on ion exchange resin chemistry. Unlike filtration processes, WE-EDI can be used to selectively remove ions even from high concentration systems. Because every excess ion transported increases the operating costs, the selective separation offered by WE-EDI can provide a more energy-efficient and cost-effective process, especially for highly concentrated salt solutions. This work reports the performance comparison of four commonly used cation exchange resins (Amberlite IR120 Na+, Amberlite IRP 69, Dowex MAC 3 H+, and Amberlite CG 50) and their influence on the current efficiency and selectivity for the removal of cations from a highly concentrated salt stream. The current efficiencies were high for all the resin types studied. Results also revealed that weak cation exchange resins favor the transport of the monovalent ion (Na+) while strong cation exchange resins either had no strong preference or preferred to transport the divalent ions (Ca2+ and Mg2+). Moreover, the strong cation exchange resins in powder form generally performed better in wafers than those in the bead form for the selective removal of divalent ions (selectivity > 1). To further understand the impact of particle size, resins in the bead form were ground into a powder. After grinding the strong cation resins displayed similar behavior (more consistent current efficiency and preference for transporting divalent ions) to the strong cation resins in powder form. This indicates the importance of resin size in the performance of wafers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes for Water and Wastewater Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Polypropylene and Ceramic Microfiltration Membranes Applied for Separation of 1,3-PD Fermentation Broths and Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yeast Suspensions
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010044 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 410
Abstract
In recent years, microfiltration (MF) has gained great interest as an excellent technique for clarification of biological suspensions. This paper addresses a direct comparison of efficiency, performance and susceptibility to cleaning of the ceramic and polymeric MF membranes applied for purification of 1,3-propanediol [...] Read more.
In recent years, microfiltration (MF) has gained great interest as an excellent technique for clarification of biological suspensions. This paper addresses a direct comparison of efficiency, performance and susceptibility to cleaning of the ceramic and polymeric MF membranes applied for purification of 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) fermentation broths and suspensions of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. For this purpose, ceramic, titanium dioxide (TiO2) based membranes and polypropylene (PP) membranes were used. It has been found that both TiO2 and PP membranes provide sterile permeate during filtration of 1,3-PD broths. However, the ceramic membrane, due to the smaller pore diameter, allowed obtaining a better quality permeate. All the membranes used were highly susceptible to fouling with the components of the clarified broths and yeast suspensions. The significant impact of the feed flow velocity and fermentation broth composition on the relative permeate flux has been demonstrated. Suitable cleaning agents with selected concentration and duration of action effectively cleaned the ceramic membrane. In turn, the use of aggressive cleaning solutions led to degradation of the PP membranes matrix. Findings of this study add to a growing body of literature on the use of ceramic and polypropylene MF membranes for the clarification of biological suspensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes for Particle Separation)
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Open AccessArticle
Trade-Off between Operating Time and Energy Consumption in Pulsed Electric Field Electrodialysis: A Comprehensive Simulation Study
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010043 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 309
Abstract
Electrodialysis (ED) has been recently introduced in a variety of processes where the recovery of valuable resources is needed; thus, enabling sustainable production routes for a circular economy. However, new applications of ED require optimized operating modes ensuring low energy consumptions. The application [...] Read more.
Electrodialysis (ED) has been recently introduced in a variety of processes where the recovery of valuable resources is needed; thus, enabling sustainable production routes for a circular economy. However, new applications of ED require optimized operating modes ensuring low energy consumptions. The application of pulsed electric field (PEF) electrodialysis has been demonstrated to be an effective option to modulate concentration polarization and reduce energy consumption in ED systems, but the savings in energy are usually attained by extending the operating time. In the present work, we conduct a comprehensive simulation study about the effects of PEF signal parameters on the time and energy consumption associated with ED processes. Ion transport of NaCl solutions through homogeneous cation-exchange membranes is simulated using a 1-D model solved by a finite-difference method. Increasing the pulse frequency up to a threshold value is effective in reducing the specific energy consumption, with threshold frequencies increasing with the applied current density. Varying the duty cycle causes opposed effects in the time and energy usage needed for a given ED operation. More interestingly, a new mode of PEF functions with the application of low values of current during the relaxation phases has been investigated. This novel PEF strategy has been demonstrated to simultaneously improve the time and the specific energy consumption of ED processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Polymeric Membranes for Oil/Water Separation
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010042 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
In this work, the treatment of oily wastewater was investigated using developed cellulose acetate (CA) membranes blended with Nylon 66. Membrane characterization and permeation results in terms of oil rejection and flux were compared with a commercial CA membrane. The solution casting method [...] Read more.
In this work, the treatment of oily wastewater was investigated using developed cellulose acetate (CA) membranes blended with Nylon 66. Membrane characterization and permeation results in terms of oil rejection and flux were compared with a commercial CA membrane. The solution casting method was used to fabricate membranes composed of CA and Nylon 66. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis was done to examine the surface morphology of the membrane as well as the influence of solvent on the overall structure of the developed membranes. Mechanical and thermal properties of developed blended membranes and a commercial membrane were examined by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and universal (tensile) testing machine (UTM). Membrane characterizations revealed that the thermal and mechanical properties of the fabricated blended membranes better than those of the commercial membrane. Membrane fluxes and rejection of oil as a function of Nylon 66 compositions and transmembrane pressure were measured. Experimental results revealed that the synthetic membrane (composed of 2% Nylon 66 and Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent) gave a permeate flux of 33 L/m2h and an oil rejection of around 90%, whereas the commercial membrane showed a permeate flux of 22 L/m2h and an oil rejection of 70%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multilayered PVDF-HFP Porous Separator via Phase Separation and Selective Solvent Etching for High Voltage Lithium-Ion Batteries
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/membranes11010041 - 07 Jan 2021
Viewed by 543
Abstract
The development of highly porous and thin separator is a great challenge for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). However, the inevitable safety issues always caused by poor mechanical integrity and internal short circuits of the thin separator must be addressed before this type of separator [...] Read more.
The development of highly porous and thin separator is a great challenge for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). However, the inevitable safety issues always caused by poor mechanical integrity and internal short circuits of the thin separator must be addressed before this type of separator can be applied to lithium-ion batteries. Here, we developed a novel multilayer poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) membrane with a highly porous and lamellar structure, through a combination of evaporation-induced phase separation and selective solvent etching methods. The developed membrane is capable of a greater amount of electrolyte uptake and excellent electrolyte retention resulting from its superior electrolyte wettability and highly porous structure, thereby offering better electrochemical performance compared to that of a commercial polyolefin separator (Celgard). Moreover, benefiting from the layered configuration, the tensile strength of the membrane can reach 13.5 MPa, which is close to the mechanical strength of the Celgard type along the transversal direction. The elaborate design of the multilayered structure allows the fabrication of a new class of thin separators with significant improvements in the mechanical and electrochemical performance. Given safer operation, the developed multilayer membrane may become a preferable separator required for high-power and high-energy storage devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Electrolyte Membranes)
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