Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.28, No.12, 3002-3010, 2020
Improvement of porous polyvinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluropropylene hollow fiber membranes for sweeping gas membrane distillation of ethylene glycol solution
Porous polyvinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluropropylene (PVDF-HFP) hollow fiber membranes were fabricated through a wet spinning process. In order to improve the membrane structure, composition of the polymer solution was adjusted by studying ternary phase diagrams of polymer/solvent/non-solvent. The prepared membranes were used for sweeping gas membrane distillation (SGMD) of 20 wt% ethylene glycol (EG) aqueous solution. The membranes were characterized by different tests such as N-2 permeation, overall porosity, critical water entry pressure (CEPw), water contact angle and collapsing pressure. From FESEM examination, addition of 3 wt% glycerol in the PVDF-HFP solution, produced membranes with smaller finger-likes cavities, higher surface porosity and smaller pore sizes. Increasing the polymer concentration up to 21 wt% resulted in a dense spongy structure which could significantly reduce the N-2 permeance. The membrane prepared by 3 wt% glycerol and 17 wt% polymer demonstrated an improved structure with mean pore size of 18 nm and a high surface porosity of 872 m(-1). CEPw of 350 kPa and overall porosity of 84% were also obtained for the improved membrane. Collapsing pressure of the membranes relatively improved by increasing the polymer concentration. From the SGMD test, the developed membrane represented a maximum permeate flux of 28 kg.m(-)(2).h(-1) which is almost 19% higher than the flux of plain membrane. During 120 h of a long-term SGMD operation, a gradual flux reduction of 30% was noticed. In addition, EG rejection reduced from 100% to around 99.5% during 120 h of the operation. (C) 2020 The Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China, and Chemical Industry Press Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.