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In order to lower the capital and operational cost of desalination and wastewater treatment processes, nanofiltration (NF) membranes need to have high water permeation, ionic rejection while also maintaining stable performance through antifouling resistance. Recently, Turing-type reaction conditions [Science 2018, 360, 518-521] and sacrificed metal organic frame (MOF) nanoparticles [Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 2004] have been reported to introduce nano-voids into thin-film composite (TFC) polyamide (PA) NF membranes for improved performance. Herein, we report a one-step fabrication of thin-film nanocomposite membranes (TFNM) with controllable nano-voids in the polyamide layer by introducing hollow zwitterionic nanocapsules (HZNCs) during interfacial polymerization. It was found that embedding HZNCs increases the membrane internal free volume, external surface area and hydrophilicity, thus enhancing the water permeation and antifouling resistance without trading off the rejection of multi-valent ions. For example, water permeation of the NF membranes embedded with about 19.0 wt% of HZNCs (73 L m-2 h-1) increased by 70% relative to the value of the control TFC NF membrane without HZNCs (43 L m-2 h-1). This increase comes while also maintaining 95% rejection of Na2SO4. Further, we also determined the effect of the mass loading of HZNCs in the top surface of TFC NF membranes on the membrane performance. This work provided a direct and simple route to fabricate advanced desalination membranes with superior separation performance. Key Words: Nanofiltration membranes, Hollow nanocapsules, High-flux, Desalination, Zwitterionic polymers, Thin-film nanocomposite membranes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Nano letters
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