Preparation of thin-film-composite polyamide membranes for desalination using novel hydrophilic surface modifying macromolecules

Belal J. Abu Tarboush, D. Rana, T. Matsuura*, H. A. Arafat, R. M. Narbaitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


A new concept for the preparation of thin-film-composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane by interfacial polymerization on porous polysulfone (PS) support using novel additives is reported. Hydrophilic surface modifying macromolecules (LSMM) were synthesized both ex situ by conventional method (cLSMM), and in situ within the organic solvent of the TFC system (iLSMM). The effects of these LSMMs on the fouling of the TFC RO membranes used in the desalination processes were studied. FTIR results indicated that both cLSMM and iLSMM were present in the active layer of the TFC membranes. SEM micrographs depicted that heterogeneity of the surface increases for TFC membranes compared to the control PS membrane, and that higher concentrations of LSMM provided smoother surface. AFM characteristic data presented that the surface roughness of the skin surface increases for TFC membranes compared to the control. The RO performance results showed that the addition of the cLSMM significantly decreased the salt rejection of the membrane and slightly reduced the flux, while in the case of the iLSMM, salt rejection was improved but the flux declined at different rates for different iLSMM concentrations. The membrane prepared by the iLSMM exhibited less flux decay over an extended operational period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2008


  • Desalination
  • Fouling
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Surface modifying macromolecules
  • Thin-film-composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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