Environmental fracture of polypropylene membranes used in membrane
distillation process (in English)
The thermal and mechanical stability of different capillary polypropylene (PP) membranes used in the membrane distillation (MD) process were investigated. Membranes differed in storage time from the manufacturing (from 1 to 8 years). Small changes in polymers crystallinity, melting temperature (Tm) and crystallization temperature (Tc) were detected as the storage time of membranes increased. This can be assigned to the crystal growth in amorphous phase of PP. However, independently on the storage time the brand-new membranes were found to be flexible and elastic and capable to bending without fracture. The MD process was carried out either continuously or continuously/periodically. Distilled water and NaCl solutions were used as feeds in MD process. It was found that PP membranes are loosing their flexibility and become brittle during long-term usage in MD modules, and as a consequence, they show susceptibility to cracking and fracture. These effects were more significant when NaCl solutions were used as feeds.
Key words: polypropylene, hydrophobic membrane, membrane distillation
M. El Fray, M. Gryta
Environmental fracture of polypropylene membranes used in membrane distillation process (in English)