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Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers
Volume 132, 2022, 104191

A novel loose nanofiltration membrane with superior anti-biofouling performance prepared from zwitterion-grafted chitosan

Xiaofei Zhaia,b, Bingqian Chena, Yaoting Hea

State Key Laboratory of Separation Membranes and Membrane Processes, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Tiangong University, Tianjin 300387, China.



Developing a novel loose NF membrane with zero NaCl rejection as well as effective anti-adhesive and anti-bacterial properties is significant for recycling and purification applications in many industries.

Materials and method

A novel anti-biofouling loose nanofiltration (NF) membrane was fabricated by crosslinking a graft copolymer chitosan-g-poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) (CS-g-PSBMA) as selective layer of a thin film composite (TFC) membrane for dye/salt separation. Specifically, CS-g-PSBMA was synthesized using cerium (IV) ion as the oxidant to initiate the graft polymerization of SBMA from CS. The PSF membrane was pre-wetted with hyperbranched polyethylenimine solution, then the loose NF membrane was fabricated by crosslinking CS-g-PSBMA with glutaraldehyde on the polysulfone (PSf) ultrafiltration membrane as the support layer.

Results and discussion

Upon optimization, the membranes show minimal rejection rates to NaCl or MgCl2, which is less than 5% but high rejection to dye molecules. After maintaining the pressure for 6 h, the interception rate for Congo red/mixed salts remained at 98% and that for methyl green/mixed salts was 80%. Further, experiment results show that the stable anti-bacterial rates of loose NF membrane against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus reached 98.3% and 99.0%, respectively.

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