Engineering flat sheet microporous PVDF films for membrane distillation

Siamak Nejati, Chanhee Boo, Chinedum O. Osuji, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


A simple phase inversion technique to fabricate hydrophobic microporous films for membrane distillation (MD) is presented. Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) dissolved in triethyl phosphate (TEP) was used as a casting solution with a coagulation bath comprising 2-propanol and water. The effect of processing parameters (PVDF concentration and molecular weight, and composition of coagulation bath) on membrane performance was systematically investigated. Our results demonstrate that an MD membrane with desirable properties can be achieved by carefully controlling the casting parameters. The fabricated membranes exhibited asymmetric structure with a dense top layer and highly porous bottom substrate, and showed markedly different performance (i.e., water vapor flux) depending on the MD membrane orientation. Our results suggest that membrane surface porosity as well as the structure of the membrane are the key factors determining MD membrane performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-363
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Oct 5 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrophobicity
  • Membrane distillation
  • Phase inversion
  • Polyvinylidene fluoride
  • Surface porosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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