Omniphobic Membrane for Robust Membrane Distillation

Shihong Lin, Siamak Nejati, Chanhee Boo, Yunxia Hu, Chinedum O. Osuji, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Scopus citations


In this work, we fabricate an omniphobic microporous membrane for membrane distillation (MD) by modifying a hydrophilic glass fiber membrane with silica nanoparticles followed by surface fluorination and polymer coating. The modified glass fiber membrane exhibits an anti-wetting property not only against water but also against low surface tension organic solvents that easily wet a hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane that is commonly used in MD applications. By comparing the performance of the PTFE and omniphobic membranes in direct contact MD experiments in the presence of a surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS), we show that SDS wets the hydrophobic PTFE membrane but not the omniphobic membrane. Our results suggest that omniphobic membranes are critical for MD applications with feed waters containing surface active species, such as oil and gas produced water, to prevent membrane pore wetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-447
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 30 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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