Document Type : VSI: Honoring NH
University of Cincinnati
Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch
Membrane Processes Research Laboratory (MPRL), Department of Chemical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), Tehran, Iran
Membrane Industry Development Institute, Tehran, Iran
Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Electrospun membranes have a significant share in membrane separation technology, especially in the membrane distillation (MD) process. However, not only hazardous solvents have been used to prepare hydrophobic nanofibrous membranes but also productivity is not satisfactory. Hydrophobic nanofibrous membranes were therefore proposed using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as an eco-friendly solvent, an electroblowing process as a high-productive process, and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) polymer as a cost-effective membrane material. The cold-pressing was used to enhance the membrane robustness. Membrane characteristics and direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performance of the SAN/DMSO and SAN/dimethylformamide (DMF) membranes were compared with a commercial polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane. Compared to commercial PTFE membrane, better permeation and comparable salt rejection (˃99.9%) was achieved for the cold-pressed SAN membranes when 35 g/L NaCl was used as the feed. This study showed that the DMSO solvent could be an alternative for limiting the use of common toxic solvents for fabricating hydrophobic nanofibrous membranes with competitive performance.