Silicene nanosheets as support fillers for thin film composite forward osmosis membranes

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Desalination, 2022, 536, pp. 115817
Issue Date:
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Development of membranes with enhanced separation and transport properties remains crucial for the advancement of forward osmosis (FO). Herein, a novel thin film composite (TFC) FO membrane with silicene-loaded polysulfone support (SN) is reported. Silicene loading was varied to obtain different SNs grown with polyamide (PA) layers to afford TFC-SN FO membranes. Characterization results reveal that optimal silicene loading (0.25 wt%) produced the most porous and most hydrophilic SN0.25 with finger-like pore structures. Low silicene loading showed minimal impact, whereas, excessive addition resulted in aggregation which diminished its effect in SN. Meanwhile, silicene had no influence on PA layer formation as all TFC-SNs registered similar solute permeability coefficient B = 0.14–0.16 LMH. On the other hand, TFC-SN0.25 achieved the highest water permeability coefficient A = 1.56 LMH bar−1 attributable to the favorable properties of SN0.25. TFC-SN0.25 also exhibited the lowest structural parameter S = 334 μm, which explains its superior FO performance relative to other TFC-SNs. Results from FO runs indicate that internal concentration polarization was reduced by 27.5–33% in TFC-SN0.25 compared with the control (TFC-SN0). FO runs in simulated low salinity water and seawater feed highlight the potential of TFC-SN0.25 for desalination. The developed TFC-SN0.25 can be repeatedly used and deliver consistent Jv values. Overall findings demonstrate the benefits of silicene for improved performance of TFC FO membranes.
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