Fabrication and optimization of superhydrophobic ZnO-SA/PVC/PVP nanocomposite membrane distillation for highly saline RO brine recovery

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran

2 Innovation Center for Membrane Technology (ICMT), University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran

3 Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Ardakan, Yazd, Iran


The induced phase separation method was used to fabricate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flat sheets for membrane distillation (MD) of RO brine feed, by using Dimethylformamide (DMF) and water as solvent and non-solvent, respectively. In order to improve the membrane structure and modify pore surfaces, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were utilized. Taguchi experimental design approach was employed to investigate the impacts of concentrations of PVP, and ZnO nanoparticles on the membrane structural characteristics and its performance.
SEM, XRD, and FT-IR were used to characterize the surface and cross sectional morphology, as well as the presence of crystalline phases and cross-linked organic groups, respectively. Water contact angle was measured to determine the wettability of the surface membrane, and the impact of ZnO nanoparticles on its hydrophobicity. The membrane synthesis and MD process parameters were optimized for a Persian Gulf feed brine to obtain a maximum contact angle 148°, under 80°C and 12 L/min circulating feed water, and resulted in high salt rejection (96.4%) and proper permeability water flux (4.2 L/m2h).


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 12 February 2024
  • Receive Date: 14 January 2024
  • Revise Date: 08 February 2024
  • Accept Date: 09 February 2024