Much progress has been made toward applying super-wetting membranes to various oil-water separation processes with high molecular permeation flux. However, there are still numerous challenges in the simple preparation of extremely durable membranes with super-wetting properties, especially considering the great developments in high-flux membranes with nanometer-scale thickness. Previous membranes have been usually limited to either high durability with low selectivity or enhanced separation performance with low stability. Herein, an extremely robust carbon nanofiber-polydimethylsiloxane (CNFs-PDMS) network inlay-gated stainless steel mesh (SSM) that shows superhydrophobic and superoleophilic properties is presented. Carbon nanofibers are subtly deposited into SSM pores to form network fillers via an improved vacuum-based filtration. Most importantly, the SSM/CNFs-PDMS membrane exhibits excellent resistance to harsh environmental conditions such as acid, salt, organic, biofouling, and mechanical abrasion. In particular, mechanical damage to the inserted membrane can be avoided using the protective SSM, thereby ensuring super-wetting performance. In the present work, we propose a new concept of discrete or partial superhydrophobicity. Moreover, compared to previous superhydrophobic membranes, the thickness is significantly decreased, leading to enhanced oil-in-water emulsion separation flux. The membranes exhibit a gravity-driven water-in-oil emulsion separation with flux up to 2970 L m−2 h−1. This work provides a brand new route for designing durable and high-flux separation systems with an inlay-gated structure in the future by combining ultrathin membranes with protective supports.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning of the Korea government 2012M3A9C6050104 and 2013R1A1A1076126. Additionally, this research was also supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C-3266 and HI15C-1653). This work was carried out with the support of the “Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development (Project No. PJ00998601),” Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)