Term of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

<--DO NOT USE-->

Committee Chair

Mahmoud Baniasadi

Committee Member 1

Kamran Kardel

Committee Member 2

Francisco Cubas Suazo

Abstract

Compared to conventional structures, nanofibers have lightweight, excellent mechanical properties, controllable pore structures, and high surface to volume ratio. These properties make them ideal for filtration, sensor generation, tissue engineering, functional materials, and energy harvesting and storage like applications. Poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymer possesses the highest electromechanical responses over a broad temperature range, among other possible materials for nanofiber formation. Among all the fabrication techniques, electrospinning is the most widely used method due to its unique advantages like high surface to volume ratio, adjustable porosity of the fibers, and the flexibility to electrospin into a variety of shapes and sizes. The demand for polymer-based nanofibers grows due to its vast application in many fields like portable electronic devices, energy harvesting systems, water purifying devices, and gas separation. Every year more than three million people die from water-related diseases. Increasing the world’s population together with the declining water tables and increasing salinity of water resources, results in a crisis that is a primary concern, while the situation is getting worse every year. Among various water desalination technologies, Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging thermally-driven, membrane-based desalination technology highly suitable to treat hypersaline solutions. MD is a thermally driven process involving a nano/microporous, hydrophobic membrane through which only water vapor can diffuse. Compared to other membrane technologies, MD is a compact and low energy separation technology. Although MD has been investigated by researchers, it still cannot compete with other technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO), mainly due to lower production rate, energy efficiency, and fouling resistance. In the present study, modified PVDF electrospun nanofiber membrane composites with various support structures were studied for Direct Contact Membrane Desalination (DCMD) application. Hydrophobicity of the nanofiber membranes was investigated, and different parameter settings of the electrospinning process have been optimized in order to enhance the performance of the nanofiber membrane in the water desalination process. On the other hand, with the increasing demand for energy, it has become urgent to develop renewable energy technologies to sustain economic growth. Electrospun PVDF-TrFE nanofibers have excellent piezoelectric properties. The core concept of the piezoelectric effect is, when mechanical stress is applied, an electrical charge is generated from a piezoelectric material. The target of this research is to develop an energy harvesting approach that shows the techniques of fiber fabrication along with energy production from PVDF-TrFE nanofibers.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

Available for download on Saturday, April 17, 2021

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