Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising separation technique capable of being used in the desalination of marine and brackish water. Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) flat sheet nano-composite membranes were surface modified by coating with electro-spun PVDF nano-fibres to increase the surface hydrophobicity. For this purpose, the nano-composite membrane containing 7wt.% superhydrophobic SiO2 nano-particles, which showed the highest flux in our previous work, was first subjected to pore size augmentation by increasing the concentration of the pore forming agent (Di-ionized water). Then, the prepared flat sheet membranes were subjected to nanofibres coating by electro-spinning. The uncoated and coated composite fabricated membranes were characterized using contact angle, liquid entry pressure of water, and scanning electron microscopy. The membranes were further tested for 6h desalination by direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) and vacuum membrane distillation (VMD), with a 3.5wt.% synthetic NaClaq as the feed. In DCMD the feed liquid and permeate side temperature were maintained at 27.5°C and 15°C, respectively. For VMD, the feed liquid temperature was 27°C and a vacuum of 94.8kPa was applied on the permeate side. The maximum permeate flux achieved was 3.2kg/m(2).h for VMD and 6.5kg/m(2).h for DCMD. The salt rejection obtained was higher than 99.98%. The coated membranes showed a more stable flux than the uncoated membranes indicating that the double layered membranes have great potential in solving the pore wetting problem in MD.

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