Development of superhydrophobic ceramic membrane decorated with flake-like structure by two-step synthesis for seawater desalination by membrane distillation

Najib Meftah Almukhtar Omar, Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Zhong Sheng Tai, Mohd Hafiz Puteh, Keng Yinn Wong, Huiyi Tan, Tonni Agustiono Kurniawan, Boon Seng Ooi, Mikihiro Nomura, Yuji Iwamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Developing durable superhydrophobic ceramic membranes capable of withstanding harsh operating conditions and maintaining their properties over an extended period poses a challenge due to the limited robustness and stability of superhydrophobic membranes. Methods: In this study, a two-step technique, previously unreported, was successfully used to prepare superhydrophobic mullite-based kaolinite (MK) and stainless steel (SS) composite hollow fibre membranes (HFMs). The surface roughening step was attained through the hydrothermal treatment of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO) at different reaction times (2- 5 h) on the MK-SS HFM surface. The fluorinating process was achieved using 1H, 1H, 2H, 2H perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (C8, 97%) through a dip-coating technique. A seawater desalination experiment by a membrane distillation (MD) system evaluated the performance of MK-SS HFM for 500 min. Significant findings: The results revealed that the MK-SS/4 h HFM, characterized by its flake-like structure, exhibited optimal superhydrophobic behavior. It displayed contact angles (CAs) of 155.9° for water, 144° for water/ethanol, 129° for palm oil, and 112° for engine oil, with a liquid entry pressure (LEP) of 5.2 bar Furthermore, the membrane performance was tested in a direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) at 70 °C using a solution that simulated real seawater conditions, including sodium chloride (NaCl) at 35 g/L, sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) at 1.2 g/L, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) at 1 g/L, and humic acid at 8 mg/L. Remarkably, a rejection rate of about 99.91% and a permeate flux of 24.3 L/(m².h) were achieved. Despite the presence of organic contaminants and various salts, this superhydrophobic HFM, prepared using a two-step technique, exhibited higher contact angles, rejection rates, and permeate flux than other superhydrophobic HFMs reported in the literature due to its superior superhydrophobic and antiwetting properties. This robust superhydrophobic membrane holds promise for developing effective superhydrophobic HFMs that can be applied in various real MD applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105277
JournalJournal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb


  • Copper oxide
  • Desalination
  • Hydrothermal
  • Membrane distillation
  • Mullite-kaolinite
  • Superhydrophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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