PFOM fillers embedded PVDF/cellulose dual-layered membranes with hydrophobic–hydrophilic channels for desalination via direct contact membrane distillation process†
In this research work, novel perfluorooctanoic acid-modified melamine (PFOM) was synthesized as a hydrophobic filler using a facile one-pot synthesis. PFOM incorporating polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) solution was cast on a cellulose sheet to prepare a dual-layered membrane employing the phase-inversion technique for direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) application. The influence of PFOM to tailor the dual-layered membrane performance was then investigated. The long perfluoro chain in PFOM hydrophobic fillers increased the surface roughness of the membranes due to its random overlapping with PVDF backbone, and these membranes exhibited a higher water contact angle value. The increase in pore size and membrane porosity did not significantly influence the liquid entry pressure of water (LEPw). The microporous membranes displayed good mechanical strength for use in the test setup. Pure water permeation was the highest (6.9 kg m−2 h−1) for membrane (M1) with 1 wt% of PFOM when tested with a simulated sea-water solution (3.5% w/v NaCl) in the direct contact distillation mode. These membranes also achieved the theoretical salt-rejection of 99.9%, thus confirming the potential of these membranes to be investigated for large scale membrane distillation (MD) applications like desalination of seawater.