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Polymers 2015, 7(10), 2017-2030;

Tailoring Membrane Surface Charges: A Novel Study on Electrostatic Interactions during Membrane Fouling

Leibniz Institute of Surface Modification, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Scott M. Husson
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Thin Films and Membranes 2015)
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In this work we aim to show that the overall surface potential is a key factor to understand and predict anti-fouling characteristics of a polymer membrane. Therefore, polyvinylidene fluoride membranes were modified by electron beam-induced grafting reactions forming neutral, acidic, alkaline or zwitterionic structures on the membrane surface. The differently charged membranes were investigated regarding their surface properties using diverse analytical methods: zeta potential, static and dynamic water contact angle, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Porosimetry measurements proved that there is no pore blocking due to the modifications. Monodisperse suspensions of differently charged polystyrene beads were synthesized by a radical emulsion polymerization reaction and were used as a model fouling reagent, preventing comparability problems known from current literature. To simulate membrane fouling, different bead suspensions were filtered through the membranes. The fouling characteristics were investigated regarding permeation flux decline and concentration of model fouling reagent in filtrate as well as by SEM. By considering electrostatic interactions equal to hydrophobic interactions we developed a novel fouling test system, which enables the prediction of a membrane’s fouling tendency. Electrostatic forces are dominating, especially when charged fouling reagents are present, and can help to explain fouling characteristics that cannot be explained considering the surface wettability. View Full-Text
Keywords: PVDF membrane; grafting; fouling; polystyrene bead; electrostatic interaction PVDF membrane; grafting; fouling; polystyrene bead; electrostatic interaction

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Breite, D.; Went, M.; Prager, A.; Schulze, A. Tailoring Membrane Surface Charges: A Novel Study on Electrostatic Interactions during Membrane Fouling. Polymers 2015, 7, 2017-2030.

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