Title

Identification of surface chemical functional groups correlated to failure of reverse osmosis polymeric membranes

Authors

Authors

S. Beverly; S. Seal;S. Hong

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A-Vac. Surf. Films

Keywords

NANOFILTRATION MEMBRANES; SILICATES; CELLS; Materials Science, Coatings & Films; Physics, Applied

Abstract

The goal of this study is to identify the causes of membrane failure observed during a 15-month operation of a low pressure reverse osmosis (RO) membrane pilot plant to treat a highly organic surface water from the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, using various surface analytical techniques. Three different commercial RO membranes, made of cellulose acetate or polyamide, were used in this pilot study, and all of these membranes showed performance deterioration presumably due to membrane fouling and degradation at given experimental conditions. In order to elucidate the mechanisms of membrane failure, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were performed on the surface of the polymeric RO membranes used. More specifically, molecular composition including surface functional groups were identified from XPS analysis, confirmed by FTIR, and correlated to membrane failure. In addition, surface morphology and fouling layer composition were determined by SEM/EDS. The results indicated that the cellulose acetate membrane was biologically damaged, while the polyamide membrane was compromised by chlorine oxidation. The biodegradation of cellulose acetate was evidenced by the presence of nitrogen on XPS and FTIR scans. Chlorine uptake shown in XPS and FTIR scans of used polyamide membranes was a good indicator of chemical degradation. This study demonstrated that XPS, combined with FTIR and SEM/EDS, is a valuable diagnostic tool for failure analysis of polymeric RO membranes and provides valuable information to aid the manufacturers in designing better membranes for reverse osmosis. (C) 2000 American Vacuum Society. [S0734-2101(00)09204-6].

Journal Title

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology a-Vacuum Surfaces and Films

Volume

18

Issue/Number

4

Publication Date

1-1-2000

Document Type

Article; Proceedings Paper

Language

English

First Page

1107

Last Page

1113

WOS Identifier

WOS:000088276800013

ISSN

0734-2101

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