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Materials and applications for low-cost ceramic membranes

Abdullayev, Amanmyrat; Bekheet, Maged F.; Hanaor, Dorian A.H.; Gurlo, Aleksander

In water treatment applications, the use of ceramic membranes is associated with numerous advantages relative to polymer-based filtration systems. High-temperature stability, fouling resistance, and low maintenance requirements contribute to lower lifecycle costs in such systems. However, the high production costs of most commercially available ceramic membranes, stemming from raw materials and processing, are uneconomical for such systems in most water treatment applications. For this reason, there is a growing demand for new ceramic membranes based on low-cost raw materials and processes. The use of unrefined mineral feedstocks, clays, cement, sands, and ash as the basis for the fabrication of ceramic membranes offers a promising pathway towards the obtainment of effective filtration systems that can be economically implemented in large volumes. The design of effective ceramic filtration membranes based on low-cost raw materials and energy-efficient processes requires a balance of pore structure, mass flow, and robustness, all of which are highly dependent on the composition of materials used, the inclusion of various pore-forming and binding additives, and the thermal treatments to which membranes are subjected. In this review, we present recent developments in materials and processes for the fabrication of low-cost membranes from unrefined raw materials, including clays, zeolites, apatite, waste products, including fly ash and rice husk ash, and cement. We examine multiple aspects of materials design and address the challenges relating to their further development.
Published in: Membranes, 10.3390/membranes9090105, MDPI