Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol.59, No.47, 20845-20853, 2020
Designing Hydrogel-Modified Cellulose Triacetate Membranes with High Flux and Solute Selectivity for Forward Osmosis
Forward osmosis (FO) has attracted intensive attention in liquid separation because it is less energy-consuming as compared to the pressure-driven separation processes, but the lack of a high-performance membrane limits its application. In this paper, novel FO membranes were fabricated by generating three methacrylate-based hydrogels (methyl-, ethyl-, and butyl-methacrylate) on the CTA surface via the solution drop-casting method. The characterization results show that the hydrogels were chemically crosslinked with the porous CTA substrate and improved the hydrophilicity of membranes. As a result, all the hydrogel-modified CTA membranes showed a higher pure water flux than the bare CTA and commercial HTI-CTA membranes. The modified FO membranes also exhibited higher solute selectivity and salt retention, as the hydrogels acted as the active barrier. In addition, antibacterial study demonstrated that hydrogel modifications conferred antibacterial properties to the CTA membranes, which is indicative of a better antifouling feature. The outstanding separation performance indicates that the hydrogel-modified CTA membranes have great potential for the industrial application.