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Journal: Membranes


Solid electrolytes for Li transport have been prepared by melt-compounding in one single step. Electrolytes are composed of polyvinylidene fluoride-hexafluoropropylene (PVDF-HFP) with PYR13TFSI on its own or with varying concentration of LiTFSI. While the extrusion of PVDF-HFP with PYR13TFSI is possible up to relatively high liquid fractions, the compatibility of PVDF-HFP with LiTFSI/PYR13TFSI solutions is much lower. An organo-modified sepiolite with D-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS-S) can be used to enhance the compatibility of these blends and allows to prepare homogeneous PYR13TFSI/LiTFSI/PVDF-HFP electrolytes with controlled microphase separations by melt-compounding. The structure and morphology of the electrolytes has been studied by FTIR, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), SEM, and AFM. Their mechanical properties have been studied by classical strain-stress experiments. Finally, ionic conductivity has been studied in the -50 to 90 °C temperature range and in diffusivity at 25 °C by PFG-NMR. These electrolytes prove to have a microphase-separated morphology and ionic conductivity which depends mainly on their composition, and a mechanical behavior typical of common thermoplastic polymers, which makes them very easy to handle. Then, in this solvent-free and scalable fashion, it is possible to prepare electrolytes like those prepared by solvent casting, but in few minutes instead of several hours or days, without solvent evaporation steps, and with ionic conductivities, which are very similar for the same compositions, above 0.1 mS·cm-1 at 25 °C. In addition, some of the electrolytes have been prepared with high concentration of Li ion, what has allowed the anion exchange Li transport mechanism to contribute significantly to the overall Li diffusivity, making DLi become similar and even clearly greater than DTFSI.


Surgical meshes, in particular those used to repair hernias, have been in use since 1891. Since then, research in the area has expanded, given the vast number of post-surgery complications such as infection, fibrosis, adhesions, mesh rejection, and hernia recurrence. Researchers have focused on the analysis and implementation of a wide range of materials: meshes with different fiber size and porosity, a variety of manufacturing methods, and certainly a variety of surgical and implantation procedures. Currently, surface modification methods and development of nanofiber based systems are actively being explored as areas of opportunity to retain material strength and increase biocompatibility of available meshes. This review summarizes the history of surgical meshes and presents an overview of commercial surgical meshes, their properties, manufacturing methods, and observed biological response, as well as the requirements for an ideal surgical mesh and potential manufacturing methods.

Concepts: Present, Surgery, Hernia, Bowel obstruction, Materials science, Materials, Pediatric surgery, Diseases involving the fasciae


Amyloid-β peptides interact with cell membranes in the human brain and are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. An emerging explanation of the molecular mechanism, which results in neurodegeneration, places the cause of neurotoxicity of the amyloid- peptides on their potentially negative interaction with neuronal membranes. It is known that amyloid-β peptides interact with the membrane, modifying the membrane’s structural and dynamic properties. We present a series of X-ray diffraction experiments on anionic model lipid membranes containing various amounts of cholesterol. These experiments provide experimental evidence for an interaction of both the full length amyloid-β1-42 peptide, and the peptide fragment amyloid-β22-40 with anionic bilayer containing cholesterol. The location of the amyloid-β peptides was determined from these experiments, with the full length peptide embedding into the membrane, and the peptide fragment occupying 2 positions-on the membrane surface and embedded into the membrane core.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein, Neuron, Cell membrane, Peptide, Neurology, Neurodegenerative disorders, Lipid bilayer


Model membrane systems are essential tools for the study of biological processes in a simplified setting to reveal the underlying physicochemical principles. As cell-derived membrane systems, giant plasma membrane vesicles (GPMVs) constitute an intermediate model between live cells and fully artificial structures. Certain applications, however, require planar membrane surfaces. Here, we report a new approach for creating supported plasma membrane bilayers (SPMBs) by bursting cell-derived GPMVs using ultrasound within a microfluidic device. We show that the mobility of outer leaflet molecules is preserved in SPMBs, suggesting that they are accessible on the surface of the bilayers. Such model membrane systems are potentially useful in many applications requiring detailed characterization of plasma membrane dynamics.


The effectiveness of a preparative integrated ultrafiltration/solid-phase extraction (UF/SPE) process for purification of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) from a crude grape seed extract (GSE) was studied for the first time. The separation of OPCs from polymeric procyanidins (PPCs) by UF was very efficient. The membrane showed an acceptable filtration flux of 6 to 3.5 L/h·m2 at 0.5 bar of transmembrane pressure and 95% recovery of its water flux after chemical cleaning. The process was scalable to a pilot scale. The separation of very polar and ionic species from OPCs by SPE (XAD7HP and XAD16 resins) was also very good, but both adsorbents lost their retention capacities quickly, due probably to irreversible retention of OPCs/PPCs. Even though the global purification of OPCs by the integrated UF/SPE process allowed the recovery of 24.2 g of highly purified OPCs (83% purity) from 14.4 L of crude grape seed extract, the use of these adsorbents for further purification of the OPCs was very limited.


The anodizing industry generates several alkaline and acidic wastewater streams often with high concentrations of heavy metals. In this study, nanofiltration (NF) was used to treat wastewater from individual baths, i.e., wastewater from color rinse, alkaline pickling rinse, acidic pickling rinse and anodizing rinse, as well as a mixture of all the wastewater streams. The experiments were carried out by using a commercial membrane (NF99HF) exhibiting pure water permeability of 10 L/(m2·h·bar). For all wastewater streams except one, pH was adjusted to bring it within the recommended pH limits of the membrane, whereby part of the heavy metals precipitated and was removed. The NF of the color rinse offered high-quality permeate (heavy metals below detection limit) and high permeability (9 L/(m2·h·bar)), whereas the nanofiltration of the alkaline pickling rinse exhibited no permeability. The NF of the acidic pickling rinse showed a permeability of 3.1-4.1 L/(m2·h·bar), but low ion rejection (7%-13%). NF of the neutralized mixed wastewater, after the removal of precipitate, produced high-quality permeate with a stable permeability of 1 L/(m2·h·bar). Treatment of the mixed wastewater is therefore the best option if the water has to be discharged. If the water has to be reused, the permeate conductivity in the color rinse and anodizing rinse baths have been reduced significantly, so the treatment of these streams may then be a better option.


A detailed comparison of the gas permeability of four Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity containing Tröger’s base (TB-PIMs) is reported. In particular, we present the results of a systematic study of the differences between four related polymers, highlighting the importance of the role of methyl groups positioned at the bridgehead of ethanoanthracene (EA) and triptycene (Trip) components. The PIMs show BET surface areas between 845-1028 m2 g-1 and complete solubility in chloroform, which allowed for the casting of robust films that provided excellent permselectivities for O2/N2, CO2/N2, CO2/CH4 and H2/CH4 gas pairs so that some data surpass the 2008 Robeson upper bounds. Their interesting gas transport properties were mostly ascribed to a combination of high permeability and very strong size-selectivity of the polymers. Time lag measurements and determination of the gas diffusion coefficient of all polymers revealed that physical ageing strongly increased the size-selectivity, making them suitable for the preparation of thin film composite membranes.


High operational cost due to membrane fouling propensity remains a major drawback for the widespread application of membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology. As a result, studies on membrane fouling mitigation through the application of integrated processes have been widely explored. In this work, the combined application of electrochemical processes and moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) technology within an MBR at laboratory scale was performed by applying an intermittent voltage of 3 V/cm to a reactor filled with 30% carriers. The treatment efficiency of the electro moving bed membrane bioreactor (eMB-MBR) technology in terms of ammonium nitrogen (NH₄-N) and orthophosphate (PO₄-P) removal significantly improved from 49.8% and 76.7% in the moving bed membrane bioreactor (MB-MBR) control system to 55% and 98.7% in the eMB-MBR, respectively. Additionally, concentrations of known fouling precursors and membrane fouling rate were noticeably lower in the eMB-MBR system as compared to the control system. Hence, this study successfully demonstrated an innovative and effective technology (i.e., eMB-MBR) to improve MBR performance in terms of both conventional contaminant removal and fouling mitigation.


Pressure-dependent breakthrough of nanobioparticles in filtration was observed and it was related to depend on both convective forces due to flow and diffusion as a result of Brownian motion. The aim of this work was to investigate the significance of Brownian motion on nanoparticle and virus capture in a nanocellulose-based virus removal filter paper through theoretical modeling and filtration experiments. Local flow velocities in the pores of the filter paper were modeled through two different approaches (i.e., with the Hagen⁻Poiseuille equation) and by evaluating the superficial linear flow velocity through the filter. Simulations by solving the Langevin equation for 5 nm gold particles and 28 nm ΦX174 bacteriophages showed that hydrodynamic constraint is favored for larger particles. Filtration of gold nanoparticles showed no difference in retention for the investigated fluxes, as predicted by the modeling of local flow velocities. Filtration of ΦX174 bacteriophages exhibited a higher retention at higher filtration pressure, which was predicted to some extent by the Hagen⁻Poiseuille equation but not by evaluation of the superficial linear velocity. In all, the hydrodynamic theory was shown able to explain some of the observations during filtration.


This paper presents a novel method for transient and steady state mixed gas permeation measurements, using a quadrupole residual gas analyser for the on-line determination of the permeate composition. The on-line analysis provides sufficiently quick response times to follow even fast transient phenomena, enabling the unique determination of the diffusion coefficient of the individual gases in a gas mixture. Following earlier work, the method is further optimised for higher gas pressures, using a thin film composite and a thick dense styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) block copolymer membrane. Finally, the method is used to calculate the CO₂/CH₄ mixed gas diffusion coefficients of the spirobisfluorene-based polymer of intrinsic microporosity, PIM-SBF-1. It is shown that the modest pressure dependence of the PIM-SBF-1 permeability can be ascribed to a much stronger pressure dependence of the diffusion coefficient, which partially compensates the decreasing solubility of CO₂ with increasing pressure, typical for the strong sorption behaviour in PIMs. The characteristics of the instrument are discussed and suggestions are given for even more versatile measurements under stepwise increasing pressure conditions. This is the first report on mixed gas diffusion coefficients at different pressures in a polymer of intrinsic microporosity.