Flux-enhanced PVDF mixed matrix membranes incorporating APTS-functionalized graphene oxide for membrane distillation

Sebastian Leaper, Ahmed Abdel-Karim, Bilal Faki, Jose Miguel Luque-Alled, Monica Alberto, Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Stuart M. Holmes, Gyorgy Szekely, Mohamed I. Badawy, Nima Shokri, Patricia Gorgojo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) is an emerging desalination technology with the potential to meet the challenge of global water scarcity due to its low cost and high thermal efficiency compared to other processes. However, despite the potential of AGMD, a lack of appropriate membranes limits its commercial application. Therefore, this study was focussed on the fabrication of high flux, robust membranes for the purification of artificial sea water by incorporating graphene oxide functionalized with 3-(aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTS) into PVDF polymer solutions. Successful functionalisation of GO with APTS was confirmed with XPS and FTIR. It was shown that the addition of GO and GO-APTS enhanced the permeate flux by 52% and 86%, respectively, compared to pure PVDF. The best performing membrane contained 0.3 wt% GO-APTS (with respect to PVDF) and had a flux of 6.2 LMH (L m−2 h−1) whilst maintaining perfect salt rejection (>99.9%). These improvements were attributed to increased surface and bulk porosity, larger mean pore size and hydrophilic interactions owing to the functional groups of GO and GO-APTS. These membranes are evidence of the potential that GO and related materials have as nanocomposite fillers in high performance desalination membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - May 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Air gap membrane distillation
  • Graphene oxide
  • Mixed matrix membranes
  • Sea water desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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