A novel method for one-step preparation of antifouling ultrafiltration membranes via a non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) technique is proposed. It involves using aqueous 0.05-0.3 wt. % solutions of cationic polyelectrolyte based on a copolymer of acrylamide and 2-acryloxyethyltrimethylammonium chloride (Praestol 859) as a coagulant in NIPS. Asystematic study of the effect of the cationic polyelectrolyte addition to the coagulant on the structure, performance and antifouling stability of polysulfone membranes was carried out. The methods for membrane characterization involved scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), contact angle and zeta-potential measurements and evaluation of the permeability, rejection and antifouling performance in human serum albumin solution and surface water ultrafiltration. It was revealed that in the presence of cationic polyelectrolyte in the coagulation bath, its concentration has a major influence on the rate of "solvent-non-solvent" exchange and thus also on the rate of phase separation which significantly affects membrane structure. The immobilization of cationic polyelectrolyte macromolecules into the selective layer was confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy. It was revealed that polyelectrolyte macromolecules predominately immobilize on the surface of the selective layer and not on the bottom layer. Membrane modification was found to improve the hydrophilicity of the selective layer, to increase surface roughness and to change zeta-potential which yields the substantial improvement of membrane antifouling stability toward natural organic matter and human serum albumin.
Scopus subject areas
- Polymers and Plastics