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Title:Design of advanced reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes for water purification
Author(s):Ba, Chaoyi
Director of Research:Economy, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Economy, James
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Geil, Phillip H.; Shang, Jian Ku; Cheng, Jianjun
Department / Program:Materials Science & Engineerng
Discipline:Materials Science & Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Reverse osmosis
Positively charged NF membranes
Solvent resistant NF membranes
P84 copolyimide
Membrane fouling
Neutrally charged NF membranes
Polyelectrolyte coating
Thermally stable RO membranes
PMDA/ODA polyimide
interfacial polymerization
Chemical modification
Antifouling NF membranes
Abstract:Most commercially available reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) membranes are based on the thin film composite (TFC) aromatic polyamide membranes. However, they have several disadvantages including low resistance to fouling, low chemical and thermal stabilities and limited chlorine tolerance. To address these problems, advanced RO/NF membranes are being developed from polyimides for water and wastewater treatments. The following three projects have resulted from my research. (1) Positively charged and solvent resistant NF membranes. The use of solvent resistant membranes to facilitate small molecule separations has been a long standing industry goal of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. We developed a solvent resistant membrane by chemically cross-linking of polyimide membrane using polyethylenimine. This membrane showed excellent stability in almost all organic solvents. In addition, this membrane was positively charged due to the amine groups remaining on the surface. As a result, high efficiency (> 95%) and selectivity for multivalent heavy metal removal was achieved. (2) Fouling resistant NF membranes. Antifouling membranes are highly desired for “all” applications because fouling will lead to higher energy demand, increase of cleaning and corresponding down time and reduced life-time of the membrane elements. For fouling prevention, we designed a new membrane system using a coating technique to modify membrane surface properties to avoid adsorption of foulants like humic acid. A layer of water-soluble polymer such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polyacrylic acid (PAA), polyvinyl sulfate (PVS) or sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK), was adsorbed onto the surface of a positively charged membrane. The resultant membranes have a smooth and almost neutrally charged surface which showed better fouling resistance than both the positively charged NF membranes and commercially available negatively charged NTR-7450 membrane. In addition, these membranes showed high efficiency for removal of multivalent ions (> 95% for both cations and anions). Therefore, these antifouling surfaces can be potentially used for water softening, water desalination and wastewater treatment in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) process. (3) Thermally stable RO membranes. Commercial RO membranes cannot be used at temperature higher than 45°C due to the use of polysulfone substrate, which often limits their applications in industries. We successfully developed polyimides as the membrane substrate for thermally stable RO membranes due to their high thermal resistance. The polyimide-based composite polyamide membranes showed desalination performance comparable to the commercial TFC membrane. However, the key advantage of the polyimide-based membrane is its high thermal stability. As the feed temperature increased from 25oC to 95oC, the water flux increased 5 - 6 times while the salt rejection almost kept constant. This membrane appears to provide a unique solution for hot water desalination and also a feasible way to improve the water productivity by increasing the operating temperature without any drop in salt rejection.
Issue Date:2010-05-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Chaoyi Ba
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-19
Date Deposited:May 2010

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