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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2020, Volume 14, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s11783-019-1185-5

Surface modification of mesoporous silica nanoparticle with 4-triethoxysilylaniline to enhance seawater desalination properties of thin-film nanocomposite reverse osmosis membranes

1. The Institute of Seawater Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization, Ministry of Natural Resources (Tianjin), Tianjin 300192, China
2. College of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China
3. Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology (Ministry of Education), Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China

Available online: 2019-11-08

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Mesoporous silica nanoparticle was modified with 4-triethoxysilylaniline. AMSN-based TFN-RO membranes were prepared for seawater desalination. Water transport capability of the AMSN was limited by polyamide. Polyamide still plays a key role in permeability of the TFN RO membranes. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN), with higher water permeability than NaA zeolite, were used to fabricate thin-film nanocomposite (TFN) reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. However, only aminoalkyl-modified MSN and low-pressure (less than 2.1 MPa) RO membrane were investigated. In this study, aminophenyl-modified MSN (AMSN) were synthesized and used to fabricate high-pressure (5.52 MPa) RO membranes. With the increasing of AMSN dosage, the crosslinking degree of the aromatic polyamide decreased, while the hydrophilicity of the membranes increased. The membrane morphology was maintained to show a ridge-and-valley structure, with only a slight increase in membrane surface roughness. At the optimum conditions (AMSN dosage of 0.25 g/L), when compared with the pure polyamide RO membrane, the water flux of the TFN RO membrane (55.67 L/m2/h) was increased by about 21.6%, while NaCl rejection (98.97%) was slightly decreased by only 0.29%. However, the water flux of the membranes was much lower than expected. We considered that the enhancement of RO membrane permeability is attributed to the reduction of the effective thickness of the PA layer.

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