Experimental evaluation of the thermal polarization in direct contact membrane distillation using electrospun nanofiber membranes doped with molecular probes

Sergio Santoro, Ivan Vidorreta, Isabel Coelhoso, João Carlos Lima, Giovanni Desiderio, Giuseppe Lombardo, Enrico Drioli, Reyes Mallada, João Crespo, Alessandra Criscuoli, Alberto Figoli

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Membrane distillation (MD) has recently gained considerable attention as a valid process for the production of fresh-water due to its ability to exploit low grade waste heat for operation and to ensure a nearly feed concentration-independent production of high-purity distillate. Limitations have been related to polarization phenomena negatively affecting the thermal efficiency of the process and, as a consequence, its productivity. Several theoretical models have been developed to predict the impact of the operating conditions of the process on the thermal polarization, but there is a lack of experimental validation. In this study, electrospun nanofiber membranes (ENMs) made of Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and doped with (1, 10-phenanthroline) ruthenium (II) Ru(phen) 3 were tested at different operating conditions (i.e., temperature and velocity of the feed) in direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD). The temperature sensitive luminophore, Ru(phen) 3 , allowed the on-line and non-invasive mapping of the temperature at the membrane surface during the process and the experimental evaluation of the effect of the temperature and velocity of the feed on the thermal polarization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number638
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019



  • Electrospinning
  • Membrane distillation
  • Molecular probes
  • Thermal polarization

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