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Metallic Liquid Gating Membranes

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posted on 31.01.2020, 20:28 by Alexander B. Tesler, Zhizhi Sheng, Wei Lv, Yi Fan, David Fricke, Kyoo-Chul Park, Jack Alvarenga, Joanna Aizenberg, Xu Hou
The development of liquid gating membrane (LGM) systems with tunable multiphase selectivity and antifouling properties is limited by the mechanical stability of the membrane materials. The mechanical integrity of most polymeric membranes can be compromised by deformation under harsh operating conditions (elevated temperatures, corrosive environments, foulants, etc.), ultimately leading to their failure. Here, a facile electrochemical approach to the fabrication of multifunctional metal-based liquid gating membrane systems is presented. The membrane porosity, pore size, and membrane surface roughness can be tuned from micro- to nanometer scale, enabling function under a variety of operating conditions. The prepared LGMs demonstrate controllable gas–liquid selectivity, superior resistance to corrosive conditions and fouling chemicals, and significant reduction of the transmembrane pressure required for the separation process, resulting in lower energy consumption. The stability of the gating liquid is confirmed experimentally through sustained fouling resistance and further supported by the interfacial energy calculations. The mechanically robust metal-based membrane systems reported in this study significantly extend the operating range of LGMs, prompting their applications in water treatment processes such as wastewater treatment, degassing, and multiphase separation.