Noninvasive Real-Time Monitoring of Wetting Progression in Membrane Distillation Using Impedance Spectroscopy

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535–545
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
Online published22 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2022


Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising technology for the treatment of high salinity wastewater using a hydrophobic membrane; however, the occurrence of wetting due to surfactants in polluted or low surface tension liquid impedes MD application. Common monitoring approaches, such as conductivity and flux measurement, cannot explain the wetting phenomenon that occurs during the wetting process in detail. Recently, impedance spectroscopy has been proposed for early wetting detection, as it depends on the change of water/air composition in the membrane pores. An earlier and larger variation was observed with precise signal detection. In this study, we proposed an analytical approach to estimate the wetting front, which is the average feed intrusion distance, by the impedance value recorded in real-time operation. With this proposed approach, the wetting mechanism in the presence of a surfactant and the effect of pore size on a commercial polyvinylidene fluoride membrane could be quantified, which cannot be explained in detail using conductivity and flux measurements.

Research Area(s)

  • electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), hydrophobic, membrane, membrane distillation, wetting detection

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