Hydrophobic/hydrophilic PVDF/Ultem® dual-layer hollow fiber membranes with enhanced mechanical properties for vacuum membrane distillation

Jian Zuo, Tai Shung Chung*, Gregory S. O'Brien, Walter Kosar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Dual-layer hydrophobic/hydrophilic PVDF/Ultem® hollow fiber membranes with superior mechanical and water transport properties have been prepared via co-extrusion method for vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) of seawater. To fabricate such high-performance dual-layer hollow fibers consisting of two different materials, one must overcome the issues of delamination between the two polymer layers and dense interface morphology. The former would result in a defective membrane, while the latter could significantly increase the substructure resistance for vapor transport. By properly manipulating dope formulation and spinning conditions, we have overcome the first challenge and produced delamination free dual-layer fibers. The second problem is resolved by the addition of Al2O3 nanoparticles into the inner layer dope, which creates micro-porosity on the outer surface of the inner layer. The resultant dual-layer fibers show good mechanical properties, permeation flux and wetting resistance simultaneously under VMD operations. Comparing to the conventional single layer MD fibers, the newly developed VMD hollow fiber containing 15 wt% Al2O3 has 4.5- fold tensile strength (i.e., about 350% increment) with a VMD flux of 45.8 kg/m2-h at 70 °C. This study may provide valuable guidelines in designing superior dual-layer PVDF membranes for practical VMD applications of seawater desalination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Dual-layer hollow fiber
  • Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)
  • Seawater desalination
  • Vacuum membrane distillation (VMD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrophobic/hydrophilic PVDF/Ultem® dual-layer hollow fiber membranes with enhanced mechanical properties for vacuum membrane distillation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this