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An ultrathin in situ silicification layer developed by an electrostatic attraction force strategy for ultrahigh-performance oil–water emulsion separation

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Abstract

Membrane fouling caused by oil or other pollutants is one of the major challenges for membrane separation technology used for emulsified oil/water purification. Aiming at the realization of comprehensive fouling-resistant/fouling-release properties, and the further achievement of long-term cyclic separation, an ultrathin silica (SiO2) layer is conformally engineered onto a porous polyketone (PK) substrate via the electrostatic attraction force silicification process. This in situ silicification forms an ultrathin and superhydrophilic/underwater superoleophobic interface structure that allows the realization of ultrahigh water permeance up to 7533 L m−1 h−1 bar−1, an exceptionally high emulsion flux up to 6000 L m−1 h−1 bar−1 (close to pure water permeance), and a high rejection of >99.9% against various oily emulsions. The unique design of the superhydrophilic silicification layer grown on the hydrophilic PK substrate also endowed the membrane with comprehensive antifouling properties against a broad range of oily emulsions containing various pollutants such as proteins, surfactants, and other natural organic materials (NOM), from which a nearly 100% recovery ratio of permeation flux could be obtained after several cycles of oily emulsion filtration. The use of an inorganic SiO2 modified layer incorporated into a highly chemically inert PK substrate (SiO2-d-PK membrane) also enabled the application of the SiO2-d-PK membrane under more challenging conditions, where its great tolerance and long-term stability toward salty and strongly acidic/alkaline solutions and various organic solvents were further demonstrated. Overall, this study provides an insight into engineering an ultrathin membrane with ultralow fouling-propensity for treating challenging oily emulsions.

Graphical abstract: An ultrathin in situ silicification layer developed by an electrostatic attraction force strategy for ultrahigh-performance oil–water emulsion separation

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jul 2019, accepted on 29 Sep 2019 and first published on 03 Oct 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA07988B
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article

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    An ultrathin in situ silicification layer developed by an electrostatic attraction force strategy for ultrahigh-performance oil–water emulsion separation

    L. Zhang, Y. Lin, H. Wu, L. Cheng, Y. Sun, T. Yasui, Z. Yang, S. Wang, T. Yoshioka and H. Matsuyama, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9TA07988B

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