Highly permeable silicon carbide-alumina ultrafiltration membranes for oil-in-water filtration produced with low-pressure chemical vapor deposition

More Info


Silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic membranes are of particular significance for wastewater treatment due to their mechanical strength, chemical stability, and antifouling ability. Currently, the membranes are prepared by SiC-particle sintering at a high temperature. The production suffers from long production time and high costs. In this paper, we demonstrated a more economical way to produce SiC ultrafiltration membranes based on low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD). SiC was deposited in the pores of alumina microfiltration supports using two precursors (SiH2Cl2 and C2H2/H2) at a relatively low temperature of 750 °C. Different deposition times varying from 0 to 150 min were used to tune membrane pore size. The pure water permeance of the membranes only decreased from 350 Lm−2h−1bar−1 to 157 Lm−2h−1bar−1 when the deposition time was increased from 0 to 120 min due to the narrowing of membrane pore size from 71 to 47 nm. Increasing the deposition time from 120 to 150 min mainly resulted in the formation of a thin, dense layer on top of the support instead of in the pores. Oil-in-water emulsion filtration experiments illustrated that both the reversible and irreversible fouling of the SiC-deposited UF membrane was considerably lower as compared to the pristine alumina support. The unique feature that pore sizes decrease linearly as a function of SiC deposition time creates opportunities to produce low-fouling SiC membranes with tuned pore sizes on relatively cheap support.