Multifunctional weak polyelectrolyte multilayers for membrane applications

Abstract : In this work, we demonstrate that layer by layer (LbL) is a versatile technique where control over multilayer properties such as thickness, charge and density, can be easily achieved simply by the choice of polyelectrolytes, number of coating steps and coating conditions (pH, ionic strength etc.). We demonstrate that multilayers of weak PEs (PAH/PAA) can be used to provide a dual function to membranes (PEM) i.e., as NF separation layer and as a sacrificial coating that allows easy membrane cleaning. These PEM based membranes, shows rejection performance of solutes in a range typical for NF membranes i.e., hardly rejecting monovalent ions (NaCl) (<24%), while rejecting > 60% of the divalent ion SO42- and the neutral organic molecule sulfamethoxazole (SMX). By a rinse and a low pressure backwash with a suitable trigger solution, we obtain a successful sacrificial cleaning of a fouled membrane, bringing the resistance of a fouled membrane back to that of the pristine membrane. Recoating the clean membrane support with the same PEM system brings the resistance of the coated membrane equal to the resistance of the original PEM, demonstrating the re-usability of this approach. The rejection mechanism of the investigated membranes was found to be mainly determined by size exclusion, but influenced by Donnan exclusion. We investigated our weak PEM system to prepare membranes for solvent resistant nanofiltration (SRNF) applications. SRNF membranes with PEM separation layer were prepared on a UF hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile (PAN-H) support by the LbL method. Results of this study show a simple and versatile way of using pH during coating to tune membrane performance for specific SRNF application. To bring PEM coating and sacrificial cleaning approach into maturity and to coat existing modules we present the simplification of the LbL procedure for hollow fibre membranes by employing "dynamic coating" or "active coating" which involves flushing the PE's solutions through the lumen of the hollow fibre membrane. This coating method with its reproducibility and homogeneity has the potential to coat existing UF membrane modules.
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Shazia Ilyas. Multifunctional weak polyelectrolyte multilayers for membrane applications. Chemical and Process Engineering. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU30386⟩. ⟨tel-02158116⟩

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