Enhanced durability and hydrophobicity of carbon nanotube bucky paper membranes in membrane distillation

Ludovic Dumée, Vincent Germain, Kallista Sears, Jürg Schütz, Niall Finn, Mikel Duke, Sophie Cerneaux, David Cornu, Stephen Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Recent work showed that carbon nanotubes could be fabricated into bucky-paper structures as self-supporting membranes and their hydrophobic property used for water desalination by membrane distillation. Carbon nanotube bucky-papers possess very interesting properties such as natural hydrophobicity, high porosity and very high specific surface area, making of them promising candidates for separation applications. However, to inhibit crack formation associated with poor mechanical stability, improved durability structures that retain a high degree of hydrophobicity need to be developed. In this work we chemically modified high purity carbon nanotubes by (i) UV/ozone treatment to create hydroxyl groups and (ii) reacting those groups by substitution with alkoxysilane based groups. The resulting nanotubes presented a silicon content up to 2.5% and the bucky-papers produced had larger contact angle (140° compared to 125°) and liquid entry pressures. We report here on their fabrication and use as membranes in direct contact membrane distillation.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Alkoxysilane
  • Bucky-papers
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Membrane distillation


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