ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2017 Jan 5;9(2):1737-1745. Epub 2017 Jan 5.
Smart Hybrid Materials Laboratory, Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) , Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia.
Engineering and scaling-up new materials for better water desalination are imperative to find alternative fresh water sources to meet future demands. Herein, the fabrication of hydrophobic poly(ether imide) composite nanofiber membranes doped with novel ethylene-pentafluorophenylene-based periodic mesoporous organosilica nanoparticles is reported for enhanced and fouling resistant membrane distillation. Novel organosilica nanoparticles were homogeneously incorporated into electrospun nanofiber membranes depicting a proportional increase of hydrophobicity to the particle contents. Direct contact membrane distillation experiments on the organosilica-doped membrane with only 5% doping showed an increase of flux of 140% compared to commercial membranes. The high porosity of organosilica nanoparticles was further utilized to load the eugenol antimicrobial agent which produced a dramatic enhancement of the antibiofouling properties of the membrane of 70% after 24 h.