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Novel Membrane Makes Seawater Drinkable Within Minutes

Jul, 2021 - By WMR

Novel Membrane Makes Seawater Drinkable Within Minutes

The KICT has declared the advancement of the stable performance electrospun nanofiber membrane for turning seawater drinkable.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), over 785 million global populace lack clean drinking water’s source. In spite of the vast quantity of water present on Earth, majority is seawater, with freshwater accounting for just nearly 2.5% of entire. Amongst the ways for providing clean water for drinking is the desalination of seawater. Now, the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) has declared the advancement of the stable performance electrospun nanofiber membrane for turning seawater in drinkable water by process of membrane distillation.

A team of researchers in KICT, headed by Dr. Yunchul Woo, have designed co-axial electrospun nanofiber membranes that are fabricated with the alternate nano-technology that is electrospinning. This novel technology of desalination shows that it can potentially help solve this global freshwater shortage. This developed technology could prevent issues of wetting and even improve long-term stability within the process of membrane distillation. A nanofibers within the membranes must form a 3D hierarchical structure for higher roughness of surface and therefore better hydrophobicity.

This electrospun nanofiber co-axial membrane performed salt rejection of 99.99% for one month. On the basis of results, this membrane functioned well without fouling and wetting issues, owing to the low angle of sliding and properties of thermal conductivity. Polarization of temperature is amongst the noteworthy drawbacks of membrane distillation. This could decrease flux performance of water vapor through membrane distillation functioning owing to losses of conductive heat. This membrane is suited for long-term applications of membrane distillation, since it possesses various important characteristics including, low angle of sliding, little thermal conductivity, escaping temperature polarization, along with reduced fouling and wetting issues whilst maintaining flux performance of super-saturated high water vapor. Research team of Dr. Woo's stated that it’s more vital to have stable process than a great flux performance of water vapor in the membrane distillation process that is commercially available.

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