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Fabrication and Characterization of Ice Templated Membrane Supports from Portland Cement

Abdullayev, Amanmyrat; Kamm, Paul H.; Bekheet, Maged F.; Gurlo, Aleksander

FG Keramische Werkstoffe

Porous ceramic membranes for aqueous microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes suffer from the high-costs of material and processing. The latter is mainly due to the high-temperature sintering step. In this work, cement-based membrane supports from ultrafine Portland cement are studied as a low-cost alternative to traditional oxidic ceramic supports. An environmentally friendly freeze-casting fabrication route is applied for the fabrication of porous membrane supports. Cement membrane supports are becoming mechanically stabile after hydration reaction of cement with water, which does not require any high-temperature sintering step as in a conventional ceramic membrane fabrication process. This fabrication route, which is sintering-free, decreases the cost and environmental impact of the membrane fabrication process by eliminating extra energy consumption step during sintering. The Archimedes method, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), micro-computed tomographic (µCT), and mercury porosimetry characterize the membrane supports in respect to open porosity, pore size distribution, morphology, and connectivity. The flexural strength of the 3 mm thick membranes is in the range from 1 to 6 MPa, as obtained by the ring-on-ring tests. The obtained membrane supports possess porosity in the range between 48 and 73% depending on fabrication conditions (cooling rate and the solid content, as determined by Archimedes method enabling water flux in the range between 79 and 180 L/(h·m2) at 0.5 bar transmembrane pressure difference and 3 mm membrane thickness.