Chisca, Stefan; Musteata, Valentina-Elena; Sougrat, Rachid; Behzad, Ali Reza; Nunes, Suzana Pereira(Science Advances, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2018-05-11)[Article]
Hierarchical porous materials that replicate complex living structures are attractive for a wide variety of applications, ranging from storage and catalysis to biological and artificial systems. However, the preparation of structures with a high level of complexity and long-range order at the mesoscale and microscale is challenging. We report a simple, nonextractive, and nonreactive method used to prepare three-dimensional porous materials that mimic biological systems such as marine skeletons and honeycombs. This method exploits the concurrent occurrence of the self-assembly of block copolymers in solution and macrophase separation by nucleation and growth. We obtained a long-range order of micrometer-sized compartments. These compartments are interconnected by ordered cylindrical nanochannels. The new approach is demonstrated using polystyrene-b-poly(t-butyl acrylate), which can be further explored for a broad range of applications, such as air purification filters for viruses and pollution particle removal or growth of bioinspired materials for bone regeneration.
Calo, Victor M.; Iliev, Oleg; Nunes, Suzana Pereira; Printsypar, Galina; Shi, Meixia(Computers & Mathematics with Applications, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-11)[Article]
We present a new module of the software tool PoreChem for 3D simulations of osmotic processes at the cell-element scale. We consider the most general fully coupled model (see e.g., Sagiv and Semiat (2011)) in 3D to evaluate the impact on the membrane performance of both internal and external concentration polarization, which occurs in a cell-element for different operational conditions. The model consists of the Navier–Stokes–Brinkman system to describe the free fluid flow and the flow within the membrane with selective and support layers, a convection–diffusion equation to describe the solute transport, and nonlinear interface conditions to fully couple these equations. First, we briefly describe the mathematical model and discuss the discretization of the continuous model, the iterative solution, and the software implementation. Then, we present the analytical and numerical validation of the simulation tool. Next, we perform and discuss numerical simulations for a case study. The case study concerns the design of a cell element for the forward osmosis experiments. Using the developed software tool we qualitatively and quantitatively investigate the performance of a cell element that we designed for laboratory experiments of forward osmosis, and discuss the differences between the numerical solutions obtained with the full 3D and reduced 2D models. Finally, we demonstrate how the software enables investigating membrane heterogeneities.
Extending the stability of polymeric membranes in organic solvents is important for applications in chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Thin-film composite membranes with enhanced solvent permeance are proposed, using porphyrin as a building block. Hybrid polyamide films are formed by interfacial polymerization of 5,10,15,20-(tetra-4-aminophenyl)porphyrin/m-phenylene diamine (MPD) mixtures with trimesoyl chloride. Porphyrin is a non-planar molecule, containing a heterocyclic tetrapyrrole unit. Its incorporation into a polyamide film leads to higher free volume than that of a standard polyamide film. Polyamide films derived from porphyrin and MPD amines with a fixed total amine concentration of 1wt% and various porphyrin/MPD ratios were fabricated and characterized. The porphyrin/MPD polyamide film was complexed with Cu(II), due to the binding capacity of porphyrin to metal ions. By coupling scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), Cu mapping was obtained, revealing the distribution of porphyrin in the interfacial polymerized layer. By using porphyrin as amine-functionalized monomer a membrane with thin selective skin and enhanced solvent transport is obtained, with good dye selectivity in the nanofiltration range. For instance, an ultra-fast hexane permeance, 40-fold increased, was confirmed when using 0.5/0.5 porphyrin/MPD mixtures, instead of only MPD as amine monomer. A rejection of 94.2% Brilliant Blue R (826g/mol) in methanol was measured.
A novel strategy to obtain side chain modified poly(oxindole biphenylylene) (POXI) by photoinduced copper(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) click reaction is described. In the first step, an alkyne-functionalized poly(oxindolebiphenylylene) (POXI-alkyne) is synthesized by superacid-catalyzed condensation of isatin with aromatic hydrocarbons. Subsequently, poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether (Me-PEG), 1-pyrenemethanol (Py-OH) and 1,3-dibromopropane (DBP) are functionalized by azide groups via simple nucleophilic substitution reaction. Visible-light-induced CuAAC reaction between POXI-alkyne and the corresponding azide functionalized click components employing dibenzoyldiethylgermane (DBDEG) as photoactivator resulted in the formation of POXI-PEG, POXI-Py and insoluble network, respectively. Successful modification of POXI was confirmed by the spectral, (1H NMR, FT-IR, Fluorescence), chromatographic (GPC) and thermal (DSC) investigations.
This paper documents the testing of a vacuum membrane distillation system intended for use with liquid desiccants. Liquid desiccants offer the possibility for low-energy, ambient temperature dehumidification. Effective desalination and purification of diluted desiccants outputs two important products: a concentrated desiccant for reuse in dehumidification and fresh water. In this study, vacuum membrane distillation was used in the laboratory to purify diluted liquid desiccants. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride were the desiccants selected for testing. Desiccant solutions were pumped through the lumens of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) hollow fiber membranes at varying feed inlet temperatures, solution velocity rates and vacuum set points during membrane distillation. An average flux of 8 kg m-2 h-1 was obtained using 30 wt% magnesium chloride solution at a temperature of 50 °C while applying vacuum to achieve 25 mbar absolute pressure on the air side of the membrane. The results are promising for the development of a full-scale vacuum membrane distillation process for desiccant solution regeneration and fresh water recovery. In addition, the recovered condensate was of sufficient quality for use in agricultural irrigation or drinking water.
Treatment of produced water in the petroleum industry has been a challenge worldwide. In this study, we evaluated the use of direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) for this purpose, removing oil and dissolved elements and supplying clean water from waste. We synthesized fluorinated polyoxadiazole, a highly hydrophobic polymer, to fabricate hollow fiber membranes, which were optimized and tested for simulated produced water and real produced water treatment. The process performance was investigated under different operating parameters, such as feed temperature, feed flow velocity and length of the membrane module for 4 days. The results indicate that by increasing feed temperature and feed flow rate the vapor flux increases. The flux decreased with increasing the length of the module due to the decrease of the driving force along the module. The fouling behavior, which corresponds to flux decline and cleaning efficiency of the membrane, was studied. The performance of the fabricated hollow fiber membranes was demonstrated for the treatment of produced water, complying with the industrial reuse and discharge limits.
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