American Chemical Society
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Antifouling Double-Skinned Forward Osmosis Membranes by Constructing Zwitterionic Brush-Decorated MWCNT Ultrathin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-09, 00:00 authored by Xinyu Zhang, Ming Xie, Zhe Yang, Hao-Chen Wu, Chuanjie Fang, Langming Bai, Li-Feng Fang, Tomohisa Yoshioka, Hideto Matsuyama
Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) process is hindered by severe fouling occurring within the porous support of the forward osmosis (FO) membranes. We designed a novel double-skinned FO membrane containing a polyamide salt-rejecting layer and a zwitterionic brush-decorated, multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT/PSBMA) foulant-resisting layer on the back side. Our results demonstrated that the coating of the MWCNT/PSBMA layer on the porous polyketone (PK) support imparted enhanced hydrophilicity and smaller membrane pore size, thereby providing excellent resistance toward both protein adhesion and bacterial adsorption. We also further evaluated this resultant double-skinned membrane (i.e., TFC-MWCNT/PSBMA) in dynamic PRO fouling experiments using protein and alginate as model organic foulants. Compared to the pristine TFC-PK and hydrophobic TFC-MWCNT membranes, the TFC-MWCNT/PSBMA membrane exhibited not only the lowest water flux decline but also the highest water flux recovery after simple physical flushing. These results shed light on fabrication of antifouling PRO membranes for water purification purposes.