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Elemental Depth Profiling of Chlorinated Polyamide-Based Thin-Film Composite Membranes with Elastic Recoil Detection
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
The chlorine resistance of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes is of high importance in the water treatment industry. Elastic recoil detection (ERD) is now presented as a powerful tool to uniquely provide elemental depth profiles, including hydrogen, of NaOCl-treated polyamide-based thin-film composite (TFC) membranes. The influence of pressure, pH, and chlorine feed concentration on the volume-averaged Cl uptake, the location of chlorine throughout the membrane, and the z-gradient in the Cl/N ratio is demonstrated. The results suggest that (i) higher volume-averaged Cl uptakes are achieved at higher chlorine doses and at acidic pH; (ii) chlorination is mostly restricted to the top layer; (iii) a gradient in the Cl/N ratio exists along the membrane depth; and (iv) the shape of this gradient is influenced by the chlorination pH and the applied pressure. Conclusions on the chlorination mechanisms could also be deduced. Conversely, no conclusive relationships between H fractions and Cl uptake could be drawn, even though changes in the H content after chlorination were observed. To corroborate these results and fully exploit the potential of ERD, the exact microstructure of the (chlorinated) TFC membranes should be better understood.
Journal: Environmental Science and Technology
Pages: 8640 - 8648
Number of pages: 9