Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising technology for treating the concentrated seawater discharged from the desalination process. Interconnected porous membranes, fabricated by additive manufacturing, have received significant attention for MD technology because of their excellent permeability. However, their poor hydrophobic durability induced by the deformation of pores constrains their water desalination performance. Herein, an in situ three-dimensional (3D) welding approach involving emulsion electrospinning is reported for fabricating robust nanofibrous membranes. The reported method is simple and effective for welding nanofibers at their intersections, and the reinforced membrane pores are uniform in the 3D space. The results show that the in situ 3D welded nanofibrous membrane, with a stability of 170 h and water recovery of 76.9%, exhibits better desalination performance than the nonwelded (superhydrophobic) nanofibrous membrane and the postwelded (superhydrophobic) nanofibrous membrane. Furthermore, the stability mechanism of the in situ 3D welded nanofibrous membrane and the two different wetting mechanisms of the nonwelded and postwelded nanofibrous membranes were investigated in the current work. More significantly, the in situ 3D welded nanofibrous membrane can further concentrate the actual concentrated seawater (121°E, 37°N) to crystallization, demonstrating its potential applications for the desalination of challenging concentrated seawater.
Bibliographical noteGenerated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-21
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry