Fabrication of electrospun nanofibrous membranes for membrane distillation application
L. Francis, H. Maab, A. Alsaadi, S. Nunes, N. Ghaffour, G. L. Amy
Desalination and Water Treatment, 51, 7-9, 1337-1343, (2013)
Nanofibrous membranes of Matrimid have been successfully fabricated using an electrospinning technique under optimized conditions. Nanofibrous membranes are found to be highly hydrophobic with a high water contact angle of 130°. Field emission scanning electron microscopy and pore size distribution analysis revealed the big pore size structure of electrospun membranes to be greater than 2 μm and the pore size distribution is found to be narrow. Flat sheet Matrimid membranes were fabricated via casting followed by phase inversion. The morphology, pore size distribution, and water contact angle were measured and compared with the electrospun membranes. Both membranes fabricated by electrospinning and phase inversion techniques were tested in a direct contact membrane distillation process. Electrospun membranes showed high water vapor flux of 56 kg/m2-h, which is very high compared to the casted membrane as well as most of the fabricated and commercially available highly hydrophobic membranes.