Scaling mitigation in membrane distillation: from superhydrophobic to slippery

Xiao, Z., Li, Z., Gou, H., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Yin, H. , Li, X., Song, J., Nghiem, L. D. and He, T. (2019) Scaling mitigation in membrane distillation: from superhydrophobic to slippery. Desalination, 466, pp. 36-43. (doi:10.1016/j.desal.2019.05.006)

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Scaling is a major obstacle to commercial application of membrane distillation (MD) for desalination. Contemporary understanding of scaling formation onto hydrophobic membrane was built on thermodynamic assumption of a non-slip condition. This research provides an alternative theory and a novel insight from a hydrodynamic view of slip boundary. We purposely selected three polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) membranes with different surface characteristics - namely a tailor made superhydrophobic micro-pillared (CF4-MP-PVDF), a micro-pillared (MP-PVDF) and a commercial (C-PVDF) membranes, for direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) using a supersaturated CaSO4 feed. MD flux analysis showed that CF4-MP-PVDF was highly scaling resistant whereas the other two membranes were not. Nucleation energy barrier, wetting state factor and slip length were used to explain for the observed difference in scaling behavior. Results showed that hydrodynamic properties, such as the wetting state and slip length, play a critical role in determining the anti-scaling behavior of a hydrophobic membrane rather than the contact angle nor the thermodynamic nucleation energy barrier. New findings from this study serve as a new guideline for the fabrication of antiscaling membranes by creating a slippery surface.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21676290, 51861145313, 21808236),Newton Advanced Fellowship (Grant No. NA170113).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Yin, Professor Huabing
Authors: Xiao, Z., Li, Z., Gou, H., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Yin, H., Li, X., Song, J., Nghiem, L. D., and He, T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Desalination
ISSN (Online):1873-4464
Published Online:16 May 2019

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