Bacterial Nanocellulose Aerogel Membranes: Novel High-Porosity Materials for Membrane Distillation

Megan E. Leitch, Chenkai Li, Olli Ikkala, Meagan S. Mauter*, Gregory V. Lowry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We fabricated, characterized, and tested novel fibrous aerogel membranes in direct contact membrane distillation (MD) to elucidate the effects of a model high-porosity membrane material on MD performance. Unsupported bacterial nanocellulose aerogels exhibit higher porosity, thinner fibers, and lower bulk thermal conductivity than any previously reported MD materials. Modeling and experiments demonstrate that these material properties confer significantly higher intrinsic membrane permeability and thermal efficiency than symmetric PVDF phase inversion membranes with lower porosity. Development of macroporous fibrous membranes with aerogel-like porosity and thermal conductivity (>98% and -1 K-1, respectively) in thinner-film formats may further improve MD flux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental science & technology letters
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • HYDROPHOBIC/HYDROPHILIC COMPOSITE MEMBRANES
  • ELECTROSPUN NANOFIBROUS MEMBRANE
  • METAL-OXIDE AEROGELS
  • SELF-SUSTAINED WEBS
  • THERMAL-CONDUCTIVITY
  • ORGANIC AEROGELS
  • CELLULOSE
  • DESALINATION
  • ROUTE
  • FABRICATION

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