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A desalination membrane that is resistant to chlorine

By Paul Grad |

The major drawback of existing membranes for desalination plants is that the membranes are not tolerant of oxidizing agents, such as chlorine. To overcome this drawback, a team of researchers from the University of Melbourne (www.unimelb.edu.au) and CSIRO (Melbourne, Australia; www.csiro.au), led by professors Sandra Kentish and Frank Caruso, has developed a chlorine-resistant desalination membrane. The membranes are produced by the assembly of dense polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) membranes, which are crosslinked via imine bonds. The layer-by-layer assembly of the polyelectrolytes, polystyrene sulfonate (PSS) and poly(allylamine) hydrochloride (PAH), facilitated the rapid formation of a selective membrane layer with precise control over the membrane’s thickness and composition. Interlayer crosslinking of PAH was induced via immersion in glutaraldehyde (GA) solution, facilitating imine bond formation. The team studied the membranes’ performance in the separation of Na+ and Cl– ions from brackish water (2,000 ppm concentrations). According to the team, the interlayer crosslinking created a tighter membrane pore size and reduced membrane swelling. As a result, ten deposition cycles of PSS/PAH were adequate to form a selective…
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