Preparation of antifouling ultrafiltration membrane via coating in liquid carbon dioxide

Preparation of antifouling ultrafiltration membrane via coating in liquid carbon dioxide
supercritical fluid; coating; membrane; antifouling; liquid carbon dioxide; ultrafitration; surface modification
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Ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are used extensively in areas of waste water treatment, water purification and protein separation. Membrane biofouling, typically caused by undesirable absorption of colloids, proteins, and bacteria on the surface and internal pore of the UF membrane, results in a sharp decrease of permeate flux and change in separation selectivity. This causes detrimental effects on the efficiency and economics of the membrane separation process. It is well known that hydrophilization has beneficial effects on anti-fouling ability of the membranes. Various hydrophilization techniques have been proposed to enhance the anti-fouling ability. This includes blending with hydrophilic polymers, surface grafting polymerization of hydrophilic monomer, chemical treatment, and surface coating. In this work, we propose a new hydrophilization method using liquid carbon dioxide (l-CO2) as the reaction medium to coat crosslinked hydrophilic monomer on the surface and in the pore of poly(vinylidene fluoride) UF membrane. Hydrophilic coating has been carried out by inducing crosslinking reaction of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) on the surface/pore of the membrane in l-CO2. The effect of PEGDA concentration on the surface composition was characterized in detail using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and Electron Probe Micro Analysis EPMA). Water and protein solution permeation measurements were carried out to understand the efficiency and protein resistance of the coated PVDF membrane.
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