Defect free hollow fiber reverse osmosis membranes by combining layer-by-layer and interfacial polymerization

Türkan Ormanci-Acar, Mehrdad Mohammadifakhr, Nieck E. Benes, Wiebe M. de Vos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


Hollow fibre RO membranes would be desired for many applications, but are notoriously difficult to fabricate. Here we demonstrate that combining layer-by-layer and interfacial polymerization (IP) allows straightforeward production of defect-free hollow fiber RO membranes. A polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) is used to fill the pores of a support membrane, to provide a controlled and smooth surface that can nevertheless act as an IP monomer reservoir. This approach is first demonstrated on a model surface, with IP layers being successfully applied on both poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDADMAC)/poly(4-styrene sulfonate) (PSS) and poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI)/PSS PEMs. On plain hollow fiber support membranes, IP coating was found to have a success rate as low as 40%. However, by application of a PEM interlayer the success rate increases to 72% for PDADMAC/PSS and 90% for PEI/PSS. Also the separation performance of the successfully prepared IP membranes was significantly better when a PEM interlayer was applied, with higher NaCl retentions (from 94% to 97%), and better removal of organic micro-pollutants (from 96% to 98%), with just a small decrease in permeability (from 0.9 L/m2hbar to 0.7 L/m2hbar). Combining layer-by-layer and IP approaches can thus lead to the fabrication of defect free RO membranes with improved separation performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118277
JournalJournal of membrane science
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Hollow fiber
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • Layer by layer coating
  • Low pressure-reverse osmosis
  • Micropollutant removal
  • Polyelectrolytes
  • Defect free membranes


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