Summer Research Internship
Project 21 Fabrication of Nanofiber Porous Membrane and its Application for Desalination Using Membrane Distillation

Contact Information

Prof. Jiahui Shao



Project Description and Objectives

Fresh water shortage for human consumption and irrigation is one of the major problems faced globally today. Since seawater comprises a majority of the world's water resources, many research studies have been focused on converting seawater into drinking water or for irrigation. Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising technology for desalting highly saline waters. MD is a thermally driven separation process, driven by a vapor pressure difference existing between the porous hydrophobic membrane surfaces. It has quite several salient features, such as lower operating temperatures (50-90°C) than conventional distillation, low energy consumption with waste heat, relatively low operating pressure, and theoretically 100% salt rejection. However, the current MD membrane and processes still suffer from limitations such as low permeate flux rate and wetting of the pores during MD operation. 


In this study, electrospinning will be used to make nanofiber membranes with high porosity for high permeate flux. The nanofiber membrane then undergoes superhydrophobic modification to improve its wetting resistance.


Eligibility Requirements

  • The interested students from Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Material Science would be preferred.


Main Tasks

Fabrication of nanofibrous membrane using electrospinning method

Characterization of the membrane

Evaluation of the membrane distillation performance of the membrane





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