CF<inf>4</inf> plasma modified highly interconnective porous polysulfone membranes for direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD)
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Preparation of MD membranes with a low tortuosity and high DCMD flux is reported. Hydrophilic flat sheet polysulfone (PSf), blended with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) membranes were prepared by dual-bath coagulation phase inversion, where N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)/water mixtures were used as the first coagulant before immersion into a water bath. CF<inf>4</inf> plasma modification was utilized to render the originally hydrophilic membranes hydrophobic. The membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), water contact angle, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), liquid entry pressure (LEP<inf>w</inf>), and gas permeability. Results demonstrated that the first coagulation bath acted as a dense skin layer remover in comparison to a PSf membrane prepared in a single water bath. CF<inf>4</inf> plasma modified porous PSf membranes using pure NMP as the first coagulant showed a contact angle of 144° and a DCMD flux of 53.33kg/m<sup>2</sup>·h (T<inf>f</inf>=70.3°C), which was 80% higher than a commercial PVDF membrane with comparable performance stability. Heat and mass simulation modeling results demonstrated that the tortuosity of the PSf membranes is close to 1 in contrast to 2.5 for the commercial PVDF membranes. This result provides some theoretical understanding of the origin of the high performance of PSf MD membranes.
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