Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.21, No.5, 473-484, 2013
Surface Modification of Commercial Aromatic Polyamide Reverse Osmosis Membranes by Crosslinking Treatments
Crosslinking treatments for a commercially available aromatic polyamide reverse osmosis membrane were carried out to improve its chlorine resistance. The crosslinking agents including 1,6-hexanediol diglycidyl ether, adipoyl dichloride and hexamethylene diisocyanate ester with long flexible aliphatic chains and high reactivity with N-H groups were used in the experiments. Attenuated total reflective Fourier transform infrared spectra verified the successful preparation of highly crosslinked membranes by crosslinking treatments. It was suggested that the crosslinking agents were connected to membrane surface through the reactions with amine and amide II groups, which is confirmed by surface charge measurements. Based on contact angle measurements, crosslinking treatments decreased membrane hydrophilicity by introducing methylene groups to membrane surface. With increasing amount of crosslinking agent molecules connected to membrane surface, the hydrolysis of unconnected functional groups of crosslinking agent produced polar groups and increased membrane hydrophilicity. The highly crosslinked membranes showed higher salt rejections and lower water fluxes as compared with the raw membrane. Since the active sites (N-H groups) vulnerable to free chlorine on membrane surface were eliminated by crosslinking treatments, the chlorine resistances of the highly crosslinked membranes were significantly improved by slighter changes in both water fluxes and salt rejections after chlorination.