Abstract

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) composite membranes were fabricated and subsequently applied in ethanol recovery from an ethanol-water mixture by pervaporation (PV) using fractional condensation. The effects of feed temperature and feed flow velocity on the pervaporative properties of PDMS/PVDF composite membranes were investigated. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results showed that PDMS was coated uniformly on the surface of porous PVDF substrate, and the PDMS separation layer was dense with a thickness of 1.7 µm. Additionally, it was found that with increasing feed temperature, the total flux of the composite membrane increased, whereas the separation factor decreased. As the feed flow velocity increased, the total flux and separation factor increased. Besides, the permeate vapor was condensed by a two-stage fractional condenser maintained at different temperatures. The effects of the condensation conditions on fractions of ethanol-water vapor were studied to concentrate ethanol in product. The fractional condensers proved to be an effective way to enhance the separation efficiency. Under the optimum fractional condensation conditions, the second condenser showed a flux of 1,329 g/m2 h and the separation factor was increased to 17.2. Furthermore, the long-term operation stability was verified, indicating that the PV system incorporating fractional condensation was a promising approach to separate ethanol from the ethanol-water mixture.

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