The development of a novel carbon nanotube (CNT) immobilized membrane comprised of a double-layer structure is presented for water desalination by membrane distillation. The bilayered structure is comprised of CNTs functionalized with a hydrophobic octadecyl amine group on the feed side and carboxylated CNTs on the permeate side. The latter is more hydrophilic. The hydrophobic CNTs provide higher water vapor permeation, while the hydrophilic CNTs facilitate the condensation of water vapor. Together, these led to superior performance, and flux in a direct contact membrane distillation mode was found to be as high as 121 kg/m(2)h at 80 °C. The bilayered membrane represented an enhancement of 70% over the unmodified membrane and 37% over a membrane which had a monolayered structure where only the feed side was CNT-modified.

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