Promoted water transport across graphene oxide-poly(amide) thin film composite membranes and their antibacterial activity

Li He, Ludovic F. Dumée, Chunfang Feng, Leonora Velleman, Rackel Reis, Fenghua She, Weimin Gao, Lingxue Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Hybrid composite membranes have great potential for desalination applications since water transport can be favorably promoted by selective diffusion at the interface between matrix and reinforcement materials. In this paper, graphene oxide nano-sheets were successfully incorporated across 200nm thick poly(amide) films by interfacial polymerization to form novel thin-film composite membranes. The impact of the graphene oxide on the morphology, chemistry, and surface charge of the ultra-thin poly(amide) layer, and the ability to desalinate seawater was investigated. The graphene oxide nano-sheets were found to be well dispersed across the composite membranes, leading to a lower membrane surface energy and an enhanced hydrophilicity. The iso-electric point of the samples, key to surface charge repulsion during desalination, was found to be consistently shifted to higher pH values with an increasing graphene oxide content. Compared to a pristine poly(amide) membrane, the pure water flux across the composite membranes with 0.12wt.% of graphene oxide was also found to increase by up to 80% from 0.122 to 0.219L·μm·m-2·h-1·bar-1 without significantly affecting salt selectivity. Furthermore, the inhibitory effects of the composite membrane on microbial growth were evaluated and the novel composite membranes exhibited superior anti-microbial activity and may act as a potential anti-fouling membrane material.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Controlled surface charge
  • Poly(amide) composite membrane
  • Promoted transport
  • Water desalination


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