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Effect of asymmetric wettability in nanofiber membrane by electrospinning technique on separation of oil/water emulsion

Bae, Jiyeol, kim, Hayoung, Kim, Kwang Soo, Choi, Heechul
Chemosphere 2018 v.204 pp. 235-242
emulsions, liquids, nanofibers, oils, pollution, surface roughness, water treatment, wettability
Oil/water separation is an important issue in the environmental field because of increasing worldwide oil pollution. In particular, emulsion under 20 μm in size causes a serious problem in water treatment. Thus, development of an effective oil/water emulsion separation membrane is required. Asymmetric wettability is one effective technique for emulsion separation due to its directional liquid transport property. In this research, wettability was controlled by adjusting the diameter of an electrospun nanofiber for a difference in surface roughness. Through analysis of the surface structure and contact angle of nanofibers with various diameters, the contact angles of fibers with different diameters were increased about 40° to confirm that surface structure affects surface wettability. Comparison of asymmetric wettability membranes (AwENMs) and a single membrane (ENM) for oil/water emulsion separation shows that AwENMs perform about two times faster and reject 10% of emulsion.