Novel Polysulfone/Carbon Nanotube-Polyamide Thin Film Nanocomposite Membranes with Improved Water Flux for Forward Osmosis Desalination.
ABSTRACT: Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising alternative to reverse osmosis (RO) in membrane-based water desalination. In the current study, carboxylated multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were incorporated in a polyamide (PA) layer formed on top of a polysulfone porous support, resulting in a thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membrane. The amount of MWCNTs was varied (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 wt/vol %). The FO performance was investigated using deionized water as the feed solution and 2 M NaCl as the draw solution. It was found that the carboxylated MWCNTs enhanced the membrane hydrophilicity, surface roughness, and porosity. Such combined effects are believed to have led to enhanced FO water flux. TFN 0.2 showed the highest FO water flux of 73.15 L/m2 h, an improvement of 67% compared to the blank thin-film composite (TFC) membrane and significantly better than the values reported in the literature. Direct observation by transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of some open-ended CNTs favorably oriented across the PA layer. Those are believed to have facilitated the transport of water through their inner cores and contributed to the increase in water flux. However, this was at the expense of salt rejection and reverse solute flux performance. The best performing membrane was found to be TFN 0.01. It exhibited a salt rejection of 90.1% with a FO water flux of 50.23 L/m2 h, which is 13% higher than the TFC membrane, and a reverse solute flux of 2.76 g/m2 h, which is 21% lower than the TFC membrane. This TFN 0.01 membrane also outperformed the TFN membranes reported in the literature.
Project description:Internal concentration polarization (ICP) is a major issue in forward osmosis (FO) as it can significantly reduce the water flux in FO operations. It is known that a hydrophilic substrate and a smaller membrane structure parameter (S) are effective against ICP. This paper reports the development of a thin film composite (TFC) FO membrane with a hydrophilic mineral (CaCO3)-coated polyethersulfone (PES)-based substrate. The CaCO3 coating was applied continuously and uniformly on the membrane pore surfaces throughout the TFC substrate. Due to the intrinsic hydrophilicity of the CaCO3 coating, the substrate hydrophilicity was significantly increased and the membrane S parameter was reduced to as low as the current best of cellulose-based membranes but without the mechanical fragility of the latter. As a result, the ICP of the TFC-FO membrane could be significantly reduced to yield a remarkable increase in water flux without the loss of membrane selectivity.
Project description:This study reported a series of thin film composite (TFC) membranes with single-walled nanotubes (SWCNTs) interlayers for the forward osmosis (FO) application. Pure SWCNTs with ultrahigh length-to-diameter ratio and without any functional group were applied to form an interconnect network interlayer via strong ?-? interactions. Compared to the TFC membrane without SWCNTs interlayer, our TFC membrane with optimal SWCNTs interlayer exhibited more than three times the water permeability (A) of 3.3 L m-2h-1bar-1 in RO mode with 500 mg L-1 NaCl as feed solution and nearly three-fold higher FO water flux of 62.8 L m-2 h-1 in FO mode with the deionized water as feed solution and 1 M NaCl as draw solution. Meanwhile, the TFC membrane with SWCNTs interlayer exhibited significantly reduced membrane structure parameters (S) to immensely mitigate the effect of internal concentration polarization (ICP) in support layer with micro-sized pores in favor of higher water flux. It showed that the pure SWCNTs interlayer could be an effective strategy to apply in FO membranes.
Project description:Enhancing the water flux while maintaining the high salt rejection of existing reverse osmosis membranes remains a considerable challenge. Herein, we report the use of a porous carbon nitride (C3N4) nanoparticle to potentially improve both the water flux and salt rejection of the state-of-the-art polyamide (PA) thin film composite (TFC) membranes. The organic-organic covalent bonds endowed C3N4 with great compatibility with the PA layer, which positively influenced the customization of interfacial polymerization (IP). Benefitting from the positive effects of C3N4, a more hydrophilic, more crumpled thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membrane with a larger surface area, and an increased cross-linking degree of PA layer was achieved. Moreover, the uniform porous structure of the C3N4 embedded in the "ridge" sections of the PA layer potentially provided additional water channels. All these factors combined provided unprecedented performance for seawater desalination among all the PA-TFC membranes reported thus far. The water permeance of the optimized TFN membrane is 2.1-folds higher than that of the pristine PA-TFC membrane, while the NaCl rejection increased to 99.5% from 98.0%. Our method provided a promising way to improve the performance of the state-of-art PA-TFC membranes in seawater desalination.
Project description:With the blooming of oil and gas industries, oily saline wastewater treatment becomes a viable option to resolve the oily water disposal issue and to provide a source of water for beneficial use. Reverse osmosis (RO) has been touted as a promising technology for oily saline wastewater treatment. However, one great challenge of RO membrane is fouling phenomena, which is caused by the presence of hydrocarbon contents in the oily saline wastewater. This study focuses on the fabrication of antifouling RO membrane for accomplishing simultaneous separation of salt and oil. Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) RO membrane was formed by the layer by layer (LbL) assembly of positively charged TNS (pTNS) and negatively charged TNS (nTNS) on the surface of thin film composite (TFC) membrane. The unique features, rendered by hydrophilic TNS bilayer assembled on TFC membrane in the formation of a hydration layer to enhance the fouling resistance by high concentration oily saline water while maintaining the salt rejection, were discussed in this study. The characterization findings revealed that the surface properties of membrane were improved in terms of surface hydrophilicity, surface roughness, and polyamide(PA) cross-linking. The TFC RO membrane coated with 2-bilayer of TNS achieved >99% and >98% for oil and salt rejection, respectively. During the long-term study, the 2TNS-PA TFN membrane outperformed the pristine TFC membrane by exhibiting high permeability and much lower fouling propensity for low to high concentration of oily saline water concentration (1000 ppm, 5000 ppm and 10,000 ppm) over a 960 min operation. Meanwhile, the average permeability of uncoated TFC membrane could only be recovered by 95.7%, 89.1% and 82.9% for 1000 ppm, 5000 ppm and 10,000 ppm of the oily saline feedwater, respectively. The 2TNS-PA TFN membrane achieved almost 100% flux recovery for three cycles by hydraulic washing.
Project description:The data presented in this paper are produced as part of the original research article entitled "Thin-film composite membrane on a compacted woven backing fabric for pressure assisted osmosis" (Sahebi et al., 2017). This article describes how to fabricate a defect free membrane for forward osmosis (FO) and pressure assisted osmosis (PAO) on the woven mesh backing fabric support. Casting polymer on backing fabric support may limit the interfacial polyemirization due to wrinkled membrane surface. This paper presents data obtained from two different backing fabrics used as support for fabrication of thin film composite FO membrane. Backing fabric support were woven polyester mesh with different opening size. The data include the characterization of the intrinsic properties of the membrane samples, SEM and their performance under FO process. The structural parameters (S value) of the substrate were computed from thickness and porosity of the substrates. Thin film composite (TFC) membrane achieved a water flux of 8.1?L?m2 h-1 in FO process and 37?L?m2 h-1 using 0.5?M NaCl as draw solution (DS) and deionised (DI) water as the feed solution (FS) when applied hydraulic pressure was 10?bar.
Project description:Thin-film nanocomposites (TFN) functionalized with tunable molecular-sieving nanomaterials have been employed to tailor membranes, with an enhanced permeability and selectivity. Herein, water-soluble hollow cup-like macrocyclic molecules, sulfothiacalixarene (STCAss) and sulfocalixarene (SCA), are ionically bonded into the polyamide network to engineer the molecular-sieving properties of TFN membranes for organic solvent forward osmosis (OSFO). Introducing both STCAss and SCA into the polyamide network not only increases the free volume, but also reduces the thickness of the TFN layers. Combining with their molecularly tunable size of the lower cavities, both STCAss and SCA enable the TFN membranes to size exclusively reject the draw solutes, but only STCAss-functionalized membrane has an ethanol flux doubling the pristine one under the FO and PRO modes in OSFO processes; leading the functionalized polyamide network with remarkable improvements in OSFO performance. This study may provide insights to molecularly functionalize TFN membranes using multifunctional nano-fillers for sustainable separations.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) is a concentration process based on the natural phenomena of osmosis. It is considered a breakthrough technology that can be potentially used for concentrating solutions and suspensions. The diluted nature of brine restricts the treatment technologies that can be applied. Then, brine concentration by FO could represent a new emerging technology enabling the application of a wider range of treatment alternatives. The performance of concentrated brine depending upon FO membranes was studied at normal temperature and pressure in this research. Cellulose triacetates on radio-frequency-weldable non-woven support (CTA-NW) and a thin-film composite with embedded polyester screen support (TFC-ES) were compared; and their orientations were considered. The brine was from Chaerhan Salt Lake after extracting potassium as the feed solution, NaCl solution or MgCl2 solution as the draw solution. The results indicated that CTA-NW exhibited better concentration performance than TFC-ES, while the water fluxes of the two membranes were exactly the opposite. In the case of CTA-NW in active layer facing feed solution orientation with MgCl2 as the draw solution, the concentration factor of Li+ was nearly 3.0. Quantitative structure-activity relationship of FO membranes and concentration characteristics was correlated, based on results of SEM, FTIR and contact angles studies. The concentration performance could be mainly attributed to the porosity and the thickness of FO membranes; while the water flux was dependent on the hydrophily of FO membrane surface.
Project description:Reverse osmosis is a major process that produces soft water from saline water, and its output represents the majority of the overall desalination plants production. Developing efficient membranes for this process is the aim of many research groups and companies. In this work, we studied the effect of adding cellulose micro crystals (CMCs) and cellulose nano crystals (CNCs) to the support layer and thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membrane on the desalination performance. SEM, TEM, ATR-FTIR, and contact angle measurements were used to characterize the membrane's properties; and membrane's performance were evaluated by water flux and NaCl rejection. Filling 2% of CNCs gel in the support layer improved the water flux by +40%, while salt rejection maintained almost the same, around 95%. However, no remarkable improvement was gained by adding CNCs gel to m-phenylenediamine (MPD) solution, which was used in TFN membrane preparation. Filling CMCs powder in TFN membrane led to a slight improvement in terms of water flux.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be obtained while delivering safe water for direct potable reuse thanks to the double dense membrane barrier protection. Typically, FO-RO hybrid can be a credible alternative to new desalination facilities or to implementation of stand-alone water reuse schemes. However, apart from the societal (public perception of water reuse for potable application) and water management challenges (proximity of wastewater and desalination plants), FO-RO hybrid has to overcome technical limitation such as low FO permeation flux to become economically attractive. Recent developments (i.e., improved FO membranes, use of pressure assisted osmosis, PAO) demonstrated significant improvement in water flux. However, flux improvement is associated with drawbacks, such as increased fouling behaviour, lower rejection of trace organic compounds (TrOCs) in PAO operation, and limitation in FO membrane mechanical resistance, which need to be better considered. To support successful implementation of FO-RO hybrid in the industry, further work is required regarding up-scaling to apprehend full-scale challenges in term of mass transfer limitation, pressure drop, fouling and cleaning strategies on a module scale. In addition, refined economics assessment is expected to integrate fouling and other maintenance costs/savings of the FO/PAO-RO hybrid systems, as well as cost savings from any treatment step avoided in the water recycling.
Project description:Despite its attractive features for energy saving separation, the performance of forward osmosis (FO) has been restricted by internal concentration polarization and fast fouling propensity that occur in the membrane sublayer. These problems have significantly affected the membrane performance when treating highly contaminated oily wastewater. In this study, a novel double-skinned FO membrane with excellent anti-fouling properties has been developed for emulsified oil-water treatment. The double-skinned FO membrane comprises a fully porous sublayer sandwiched between a highly dense polyamide (PA) layer for salt rejection and a fairly loose dense bottom zwitterionic layer for emulsified oil particle removal. The top dense PA layer was synthesized via interfacial polymerization meanwhile the bottom layer was made up of a zwitterionic polyelectrolyte brush - (poly(3-(N-2-methacryloxyethyl-N,N-dimethyl) ammonatopropanesultone), abbreviated as PMAPS layer. The resultant double-skinned membrane exhibited a high water flux of 13.7?±?0.3?L/m<sup>2</sup>.h and reverse salt transport of 1.6?±?0.2?g/m<sup>2</sup>.h under FO mode using 2?M NaCl as the draw solution and emulsified oily solution as the feed. The double-skinned membrane outperforms the single-skinned membrane with much lower fouling propensity for emulsified oil-water separation.