Advanced fluoropolymeric membranes for water treatment: from fundamental research to industrialization

Zhaoliang Cui
State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 210009, China;

Orienting to the major national demand of membranes with high performance for water treatment, aiming to solve the problems of membrane fouling during application and toxic solvents during the membrane preparation, a greener production technology was proposed, and the key problems such as designing of membrane microstructure and adjusting of membrane surface property were investigated. The technological bottleneck of highly-antifouling poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) membrane production was broken through, theory and method of greener polymeric membrane fabrication were developed, the accurate control of PVDF membrane pore size was realized, and its steady flux and permeate quality was significantly increased. The fabrication and modification theories of hydrophobic membrane materials for membrane contactor were investigated, and the hydrophobic porous membranes such as Hyflon AD and ECTFE membranes were explored. Their stability for long term run was obviously enhanced during the processes of membrane distillation, membrane crystallization and membrane condensation.

Based on the above achievement, advanced PVDF hollow fiber membranes and reinforced membrane bioreactor (MBR) membranes were developed, as the main product of the spin-off company Nanjing Jiuying Membrane Corporation, and the large-scale production lines were built. The membranes have found wide applications in emission on standard, water reuse, zero-liquid discharge, and water purification.