Green silica-based ceramic hollow fiber membrane for seawater desalination via direct contact membrane distillation
In this work, green silica-based ceramic hollow fiber membranes (CHFMs) derived from rice husk ash waste were successfully prepared via phase inversion and sintering technique. Prior to the fabrication, rice husk waste was converted into amorphous and crystalline silica-based rice husk ash (ARHA and CRHA). The surface of CHFMs could be easily modified to become hydrophobic by grafting with a fluoroalkylsilane (FAS) agent. The CHFMs were characterized before and after grafting using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), measurement of contact angle and liquid entry pressure of water (LEPw), and three-point bending test. The pore size and the porosity of the membrane surface were also evaluated using mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). Lotus-leaf structure formed at the surface of HFMs by grafting, leading to a high contact angle of >150°. Direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performance of membrane after grafting was conducted for 200 h using the synthetic seawater of various NaCl concentrations at different feed temperatures. The experimental results show that the permeate flux decreased with the increasing feed concentration, whereas it was enhanced with the increasing feed temperature. A high water flux of 38.2 kg/m2 h and salt rejection up to 99.9% were obtained by CHFM prepared from CRHA (CHFM/CRHA).