Molecular engineering low-surface energy membranes by grafting perfluoro-tert-butoxy chains containing fluorous silica aerogels : Tert -butoxy chains containing fluorous silica aerogels

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3283-3295
Number of pages13
Journal / PublicationGreen Chemistry
Issue number10
Online published14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2020


The recent attention on perfluorinated superhydrophobic membranes has been accompanied with a growing concerns over the potential degradation of longer than C6-perfluoroalkyl chains containing compounds in the environment to form bioaccumulating perfluoroalkyl acids. In order to keep the perfluorinated surface of the superhydrophobic membranes, we have addressed the problem of bioaccumulation by immobilizing perfluoro-tert-butyl groups to commercially-available aerogels. The resulting fluorous aerogels were electrosprayed on the top of commercial PVDF membranes to fabricate superhydrophobic membranes. The effects of varying the alkyl chain between the aerogel and the perfluoro-tert-butoxy groups as well as the concentrations of the modified aerogel were studied to identify the optimal membrane for membrane distillation (MD). The fabricated membranes were tested for MD performance with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and saline water (3.5% NaCl). The F1-SiG100 membrane (prepared by grafting 300 mg 1-(nonafluoro-tert-butoxy)-4-butylethoxysilane aerogel on 300 mg PVDF-HFP) exhibited superhydrophobicity (water contact angle = 151.2º), a very rough surface (R= 2.17 μm), and an extremely low surface free energy (0.82 ± 0.17 mN m-1). It also showed high resistance to low surface energy feed up to 0.5 mM SDS and saline water.

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