Abstract

Forward osmosis is an attractive technique in water purification and desalination fields. Enhancement of the forward osmosis membrane performance is essential to the application of this technique. In this study, an optimized chemical post-treatment approach which was used to improve RO membrane performance was employed for enhancing water flux of thin film composite forward osmosis membrane. Home-made polysulfide-based forward osmosis membrane was prepared and nitric acid, sulfuric acid, ethanol, 2-propanol were employed as post-treatment solutions. After a short-term treatment, all the membrane samples manifested water flux enhancement compared with their untreated counterparts. Over 50% increase of water flux had been obtained by ethanol solution treatment. The swelling, changes of hydrophobicity and solvency in both active layer and substrate were verified as the major causes for the enhancement of the water flux. It is noted that the treatment time and solution concentration should be controlled to get both appropriate water flux and reverse salt flux. The results obtained in this study will be useful for further FO membrane development and application.

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