Membrane distillation (MD) is an attractive technology for the separation of highly saline water used with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hollow fiber (HF) membrane. A hydrophobic coating of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) coats the outer surface of the PTFE membrane to resolve membrane wetting as well as increase membrane permeability flux and salt rejection, a critical problem regarding the MD process. LDPE concentrations in coating solution have been studied and optimized. Consequently, the LDPE layer altered membrane morphology by forming a fine nanostructure on the membrane surface that created a hydrophobic layer, a high roughness of membrane, and a uniform LDPE network. The membrane coated with different concentrations of LDPE exhibited high water contact angles of 135.14 ± 0.24 and 138.08 ± 0.01° for membranes M-3 and M-4, respectively, compared to the pristine membrane. In addition, the liquid entry pressure values of LDPE-incorporated PTFE HF membranes (M-1 to M-5) were higher than that of the uncoated membrane (M-0) with a small decrease in the percentage of porosity. The M-3 and M-4 membranes demonstrated higher flux values of 4.12 and 3.3 L m-2 h-1 at 70 °C, respectively. On the other hand, the water permeation flux of 1.95 L m-2 h-1 for M-5 further decreased when LDPE concentration is increased.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.