A sacrificial protective layer as fouling control strategy for nanofiltration in water treatment

Sihang Li, Huanna Meng, Haihua Wang, Johannes S. Vrouwenvelder, Zhenyu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


High-performance nanofiltration (NF) membrane with super antifouling capability as well as reusability is highly desired in water treatment. A new antifouling strategy by a coating-decoating-recoating cycle was investigated for effective removal of fouling and restoring the original membrane performance. The functional membrane surface was fabricated by in-situ coating a ‘green’ and biodegradable carboxymethyl chitosan (CMCS) layer as physical barrier. The CMCS layer can be decoated and re-coated by simple procedures. Results showed that (i) the CMCS layer enhanced surface hydrophilicity, surface smoothness and fouling resistance of NF membrane, (ii) both the unfouled and fouled CMCS layer were easily decoated by the strong acid solution, (iii) the CMCS layer was easily re-coated by facile recoating and (iv) the water flux recovery ratio of membrane with coating layer was maintained more than 88.8% during fouling testing by natural organic matter (NOM) after four sequential cycles of coating, decoating and recoating process. The re-coated membrane exhibited stable, improved membrane operational and antifouling performance. The coating-decoating-recoating approach is proven to be low-cost and eco-friendly strategy for NOM fouling control on NF membrane in water treatment applications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118554
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - May 6 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-05-09
Acknowledgements: Supported by the National Key R&D Plan for International Cooperation in Science and Technology Innovation (No. 2017YFE0181100) and National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 21901212).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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