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Wettability of polypropylene capillary membranes during the membrane distillation process

Marek Gryta

Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, ul. Pułaskiego 10, 70-322 Szczecin, Poland



Abstract: Studies of membrane wettability in the membrane distillation process were performed with the application of hydrophobic capillary membranes made of polypropylene. Three kinds of Accurel PP membranes (Membrana GmbH, Germany) differing in the diameter of capillaries and pores as well as in the wall thickness were used. It was confirmed that membranes with lower wall thickness and larger pore size provide higher yields of the process. The studies demonstrated that the pores of used membranes located close to the external surface of capillaries are several times larger than those located inside the membrane wall. Based on air permeability measurements it was found that external surface of the membranes with such large pores was completely wetted by water after 50–80 h of membrane distillation. However, the pores located inside the wall with the diameter below 1 μm were not wetted and electrical conductivity of the obtained distillate was maintained at the level of 3–6 μS cm−1.

Keywords: membrane distillation – membrane wettability – hydrophobic membrane

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-011-0096-0


Chemical Papers 66 (2) 92–98 (2012)

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