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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7143035, 7 pages
Research Article

Polyurethane Nanofiber Membranes for Waste Water Treatment by Membrane Distillation

1Membrain s.r.o., Pod Vinicí 87, 47127 Stráž pod Ralskem, Czech Republic
2Technical University of Liberec, Studentská 1402/2, 46117 Liberec 1, Czech Republic

Correspondence should be addressed to T. Jiříček

Received 23 February 2017; Accepted 11 April 2017; Published 7 May 2017

Academic Editor: Piotr Nowicki

Copyright © 2017 T. Jiříček et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Self-sustained electrospun polyurethane nanofiber membranes were manufactured and tested on a direct-contact membrane distillation unit in an effort to find the optimum membrane thickness to maximize flux rate and minimize heat losses across the membrane. Also salt retention and flux at high salinities up to 100 g kg−1 were evaluated. Even though the complex structure of nanofiber layers has extreme specific surface and porosity, membrane performance was surprisingly predictable; the highest flux was achieved with the thinnest membranes and the best energy efficiency was achieved with the thickest membranes. All membranes had salt retention above 99%. Nanotechnology offers the potential to find modern solutions for desalination of waste waters, by introducing new materials with revolutionary properties, but new membranes must be developed according to the target application.