Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes containing MCM-41 silica nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) process. An m
-phenylenediamine (MPD) aqueous solution and an organic phase with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) dissolved in isooctane were used in the IP reaction, occurring on a nanoporous polysulfone (PSU) support layer. Isooctane was introduced as the organic solvent for TMC in this work due to its intermediate boiling point. MCM-41 silica NPs were loaded in MPD and TMC solutions in separate experiments, in a concentration range from 0 to 0.04 wt %, and the membrane performance was assessed and compared based on salt rejection and water flux. The prepared membranes were characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle measurement, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) analysis. The results show that adding MCM-41 silica NPs into an MPD solution yields slightly improved and more stable results than adding them to a TMC solution. With 0.02% MCM-41 silica NPs in the MPD solution, the water flux was increased from 44.0 to 64.1 L/m2
·h, while the rejection virtually remained the same at 95% (2000 ppm NaCl saline solution, 25 °C, 2068 kPa (300 psi)).
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