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Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol.380, 2020
Graphene quantum dots (GQDs)-polyethyleneimine as interlayer for the fabrication of high performance organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes
Novel thin film nanocomposite (TFN) organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes with sandwich-like structure were developed via interfacial polymerization (IP) using both low concentration m-phenylenediamine (MPD) and trimesoyl chloride (TMC), on graphene quantum dots (GQDs)-polyethyleneimine (PEI) modified polyimide substrate surface, and followed by post-IP crosslinking and solvent activation. Such GQDs-interlayered OSN membranes have exhibited a remarkable reduced thickness (about 25 nm) and an ultra-low average surface roughness (less than 2 nm) of their IP skin layers, respectively. Both material features are rarely reported in literature. Meanwhile, our GQDs-interlayered OSN membranes have shown an increased Rhodamine B (479 Da) rejection (from 87.4% to 98.7%) and an increased ethanol permeance (from 33.5 to 40.3 Lm(-2) h(-1)MPa(-1)) compared with the pristine OSN membrane. Superior solvent resistance was demonstrated after long immersion in pure N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF) at room temperature for 81 days, and at 80 degrees C for 45 days, and after a long-term consecutively filtration with Rose Bengal (1017 Da) DMF solution at 25 degrees C for 5 days, without scarifying solute rejection. Antifouling properties during the long-term filtration were also indicated. This paper presents a novel GQDs-interlayered strategy in developing high-performance TFN membranes for OSN application.