Nanoscale control of internal inhomogeneity enhances water transport in desalination membranes

Biological membranes can achieve remarkably high permeabilities, while maintaining ideal selectivities, by relying on well-defined internal nanoscale structures in the form of membrane proteins. Here, we apply such design strategies to desalination membranes. A series of polyamide desalination membranes - which were synthesized in an industrial-scale manufacturing line and varied in processing conditions but retained similar chemical compositions - show increasing water permeability and active layer thickness with constant sodium chloride selectivity. Transmission electron microscopy measurements enabled us to determine nanoscale three-dimensional polyamide density maps and predict water permeability with zero adjustable parameters. Density fluctuations are detrimental to water transport, which makes systematic control over nanoscale polyamide inhomogeneity a key route to maximizing water permeability without sacrificing salt selectivity in desalination membranes.



Work Title Nanoscale control of internal inhomogeneity enhances water transport in desalination membranes
Open Access
  1. Tyler E. Culp
  2. Biswajit Khara
  3. Kaitlyn P. Brickey
  4. Michael Geitner
  5. Tawanda J. Zimudzi
  6. Jeffrey D. Wilbur
  7. Steven D. Jons
  8. Abhishek Roy
  9. Mou Paul
  10. Baskar Ganapathysubramanian
  11. Andrew L. Zydney
  12. Manish Kumar
  13. Enrique D. Gomez
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Science
Publication Date January 1, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited November 23, 2021




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added 2020-07-14_nanoscale_RO_inhomgeneity.docx
  • Added Creator Tyler E. Culp
  • Added Creator Biswajit Khara
  • Added Creator Kaitlyn P. Brickey
  • Added Creator Michael Geitner
  • Added Creator Tawanda J. Zimudzi
  • Added Creator Jeffrey D. Wilbur
  • Added Creator Steven D. Jons
  • Added Creator Abhishek Roy
  • Added Creator Mou Paul
  • Added Creator Baskar Ganapathysubramanian
  • Added Creator Andrew L. Zydney
  • Added Creator Manish Kumar
  • Added Creator Enrique D. Gomez
  • Published
  • Updated
  • Updated
  • Updated