Main content area

Improving Ion Rejection of Conductive Nanofiltration Membrane through Electrically Enhanced Surface Charge Density

Zhang, Haiguang, Quan, Xie, Fan, Xinfei, Yi, Gang, Chen, Shuo, Yu, Hongtao, Chen, Yongsheng
Environmental science & technology 2018 v.53 no.2 pp. 868-877
desalination, electric potential, ions, models, nanofiltration, permeability, seawater, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, water treatment
Nanofiltration (NF) is considered a promising candidate for brackish and seawater desalination. NF exhibits high multivalent ion rejection, but the rejection rate for monovalent ions is relatively low. Besides, great challenges remain for conventional NF membranes to achieve high ion rejection without sacrificing water flux. This work presents an effective strategy for improving the ion rejection of conductive NF membrane without decreasing the permeability through electrically assisted enhancement of surface charge density. When external voltage is increased from 0 to 2.5 V, the surface charge density of the membrane increases from 11.9 to 73.0 mC m–², which is 6.1× higher than that without external voltage. Correspondingly, the rejection rate for Na₂SO₄ increases from 81.6 to 93.0% and that for NaCl improves from 53.9 to 82.4%; meanwhile, the membrane retains high permeabilities of 14.0 L m–² h–¹ bar–¹ for Na₂SO₄ filtration and 14.5 L m–² h–¹ bar–¹ for NaCl filtration. The Donnan steric pore model analysis suggests that the Donnan potential difference between the membrane and bulk solution is increased under electrical assistance, leading to increased ion transfer resistance for improved ion rejection. This work provides new insight into the development of advanced NF technologies for desalination and water treatment.