High Performance Nanofiltration Membrane for Effective Removal of Perfluoroalkyl Substances at High Water Recovery.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environ Sci Technol, 2018, 52, (13), pp. 7279-7288
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We demonstrate the fabrication of a loose, negatively charged nanofiltration (NF) membrane with tailored selectivity for the removal of perfluoroalkyl substances with reduced scaling potential. A selective polyamide layer was fabricated on top of a poly(ether sulfone) support via interfacial polymerization of trimesoyl chloride and a mixture of piperazine and bipiperidine. Incorporating high molecular weight bipiperidine during the interfacial polymerization enables the formation of a loose, nanoporous selective layer structure. The fabricated NF membrane possessed a negative surface charge and had a pore diameter of ∼1.2 nm, much larger than a widely used commercial NF membrane (i.e., NF270 with pore diameter of ∼0.8 nm). We evaluated the performance of the fabricated NF membrane for the rejection of different salts (i.e., NaCl, CaCl2, and Na2SO4) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The fabricated NF membrane exhibited a high retention of PFOA (∼90%) while allowing high passage of scale-forming cations (i.e., calcium). We further performed gypsum scaling experiments to demonstrate lower scaling potential of the fabricated loose porous NF membrane compared to NF membranes having a dense selective layer under solution conditions simulating high water recovery. Our results demonstrate that properly designed NF membranes are a critical component of a high recovery NF system, which provide an efficient and sustainable solution for remediation of groundwater contaminated with perfluoroalkyl substances.
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