High performance nanofiber-supported thin film composite forward osmosis membranes based on continuous thermal-rolling pretreated electrospun PES/PAN blend substrates

Parashuram Kallem, Fawzi Banat, Liang Yejin, Heechul Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the major challenges facing the practical application of forward osmosis (FO) membranes is the need for high performance. Thus, the fabrication of highly permselective FO membranes is of great importance. The objective of this study was to improve the wettability/hydrophilicity of electrospun nanofiber (ESNF)-based substrates for the fabrication of nanofiber-supported thin film composite (NTFC) membranes for FO application. This study explored the impact of electrospun polyethersulfone/polyacrylonitrile (PES/PAN) nanofibers as the blend support to produce NTFC membranes. The blending of PES/PAN in the spinning dope was optimized. The blending of hydrophilic PAN (0–10 wt%) in PES affects the fiber diameter, hydrophilicity, water uptake, and roughness of the ESNF membrane substrates. Continuous thermal-rolling pretreatment was performed on the ESNF substrates prior to interfacial polymerization for polyamide active layer deposition. The results indicated that the fabricated NTFC membrane achieved significantly greater water flux (L/m2 h) while retaining a low specific salt flux (g/L) compared to traditional TFC membranes. The NTFC membrane flux increased with an increase in PAN content in the ESNF substrate. According to the FO performance results, the NTFC-10 (PES/PAN blend ratio of 90:10) exhibited optimal performance: a high water flux of 42.1 and 52.2 L/m2 h for the FO and PRO modes, respectively, and low specific salt flux of 0.27 and 0.24 g/L for the FO and PRO modes, respectively, using 1 M NaCl as the draw solution. This demonstrated the higher selectivity and water flux achieved by the developed NTFC membranes compared to the traditional TFC membranes.

Original languageBritish English
Article number127687
JournalChemosphere
Volume261
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Electrospinning
  • Forward osmosis
  • High performance
  • NTFC membranes
  • PES/PAN ESNF substrates
  • Thermal-rolling pretreatment

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