Naturally Extracted Hydrophobic Solvent and Self-Assembly in Interfacial Polymerization

by G. Falca, V. Musteata, S. Chisca, M. Hedhili, C. Ong, S. P Nunes
Year: 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c07584


ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2021, 13, 44824-44832

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ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2021, 13, 44824-44832


Pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries are actively implementing membrane nanofiltration modules in their processes to separate valuable products and recover solvents. Interfacial polymerization (IP) is the most widely used method to produce thin-film composite membranes for nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes. Although membrane processes are considered green and environmentally friendly, membrane fabrication has still to be further developed in such direction. For instance, the emission of volatile solvents during membrane production in the industry has to be carefully controlled for health reasons. Greener solvents are being proposed for phase-separation membrane manufacture. For the IP organic phase, the proposition of greener alternatives is in an early stage. In this work, we demonstrate the preparation of a high-performing composite membrane employing zero vapor pressure and naturally extracted oleic acid as the IP organic phase. Its long hydrophobic chain ensures intrinsic low volatility and acid monomer dissolution, while the polar head induces a unique self-assembly structure during the film formation. Membranes prepared by this technique were selective for small molecules with a molecular weight cutoff of 650 g mol–1 and a high permeance of ∼57 L m–2 h–1 bar–1.