One-Step Production of Biomimetic Superhydrophobic and Superoleophilic Membrane

Q. Li, J. Zhou, M. Dickey
Zymeron corporation,
United States

Keywords: superhydrophobicity, superoleophilicity, water barrier filter


Zymeron has developed a bioinspired lotus-mimicking, nano-structured, superhydrophobic-superoleophilic membrane. The water contact angle of membrane surface is as high as 161 ⁰, while the oil contact angle is 0 ⁰. The high porosity of 85 % and fuel flux of > 5,000 L/m2/h/bar result in low differential pressure (< 0.3 bar) and outstanding anti-fouling performance. Large-scaled prototype filter elements were shown > 99.99 % contaminants removal, rapid filtration, and long service life. According to the results of ASTM D3240 Standard Test Method for Undissolved Water In Aviation Turbine Fuels, Zymeron membranes show superior water removal efficiency than commercial membranes and meet the requirement of Energy Institute (EI) 1588 Laboratory tests and minimum performance levels for aviation fuel water barrier filters. The prototype filter elements were shown to achieve complete removal of free water from aviation and automobile fuels and oils. Zymeron’s solid bulk membrane does not include any attached, encapsulated fibers or polymers and has no media migration issue. Zymeron membrane will be the first ideal commercial water barrier filter to prevent the passage of free water and particulate matters into aircraft. Zymeron’s membrane can be used to make filter elements of any shape or size, and can be retrofitted to existing aviation fuel filtration systems. The one-step production procedure for the membrane significantly reduces production complexity and material costs. Zymeron’s superhydrophobic membrane can also be an ideal material to filter and vent air/gas for medical devices, as well as present a barrier for the liquid phase, allowing the vapor phase to pass through the membrane's pores during the membrane distillation process for seawater desalination and water purification. Therefore, Zymeron’s novel membrane and filter have significant commercial potential in dual-use applications of both military and civilian marketing including oil/water separation, oil and fuel purification, water desalination, water treatment and purification, gas filtration and enrichment, air pollution control, etc. Acknowledgement: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Contracting Command-Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Hampton under Contract No. W56HZV-19-C-0104.