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.
- HYDROPHOBIC/HYDROPHILIC COMPOSITE MEMBRANES
- ELECTROSPUN NANOFIBROUS MEMBRANE
- METAL-OXIDE AEROGELS
- SELF-SUSTAINED WEBS
- ORGANIC AEROGELS