Charged micropollutant removal with hollow fiber nanofiltration membranes based on polycation/polyzwitterion/polyanion multilayers

Joris de Grooth, Dennis Maik Reurink, J. Ploegmakers, Wiebe Matthijs de Vos, Dorothea C. Nijmeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Hollow fiber nanofiltration membranes can withstand much higher foulant concentrations than their spiral wound counterparts and can be used in water purification without pretreatment. Still, the preparation of hollow fiber nanofiltration membranes is much less established. In this work, we demonstrate the design of a hollow fiber nanofiltration membrane with excellent rejection properties by alternatively coating a porous ultrafiltration membrane with a polycation, a polyzwitterion, and a polyanion. On model surfaces, we show, for the first time, that the polyzwitterion poly N-(3-sulfopropyl)-N-(methacryloxyethyl)-N,N-dimethylam-monium betaine (PSBMA) can be incorporated into traditional polyelectrolyte multilayers based on poly(styrenesulfonate) (PSS) and poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDADMAC). Furthermore, work on model surfaces allows a good characterization of, and insight into, the layer build-up and helps to establish the ptimal membrane coating conditions. Membranes coated with these multilayers have high salt rejection of up to 42% NaCl, 72% CaCl2, and 98% Na2SO4 with permeabilities of 3.7−4.5 l·m−2·h−1·bar−1. In addition to the salt rejections, the rejection of six distinctively different micropollutants, with molecular weights between 215 and 362 g·mol−1, was investigated. Depending on the terminating layer, the incorporation of the polyzwitterion in the multilayer results in nanofiltration membranes that show excellent retentions for both positively and negatively charged micropollutants, a behavior that is attributed to dielectric exclusion of the solutes. Our approach of combining model surfaces with membrane performance measurements provides unique insights into the properties of polyzwitterion-containing multilayers and their applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17009-17017
Number of pages9
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-309956
  • IR-94700


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