Charge tunable thin-film composite membranes by gamma-ray triggered surface polymerization

Rackel Reis, Mikel C. Duke, Blaise L. Tardy, Daniel Oldfield, Raymond R. Dagastine, John D. Orbell, Ludovic F. Dumeé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Thin-film composite poly(amide) (PA) membranes have greatly diversified water supplies and food products. However, users would benefit from a control of the electrostatic interactions between the liquid and the net surface charge interface in order to benefit wider application. The ionic selectivity of the 100 nm PA semi-permeable layer is significantly affected by the pH of the solution. In this work, for the first time, a convenient route is presented to configure the surface charge of PA membranes by gamma ray induced surface grafting. This rapid and up-scalable method offers a versatile route for surface grafting by adjusting the irradiation total dose and the monomer concentration. Specifically, thin coatings obtained at low irradiation doses between 1 and 10 kGy and at low monomer concentration of 1 v/v% in methanol/water (1:1) solutions, dramatically altered the net surface charge of the pristine membranes from-25 mV to +45 mV, whilst the isoelectric point of the materials shifted from pH 3 to pH 7. This modification resulted in an improved water flux by over 55%, from 45.9 to up 70 L.m-2.h-1, whilst NaCl rejection was found to drop by only 1% compared to pristine membranes.

Original languageBritish English
Article number4426
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


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