High-performance polyamide thin-film-nanocomposite reverse osmosis membranes containing hydrophobic zeolitic imidazolate framework-8

Jintang Duan, Yichang Pan, Federico Pacheco Oreamuno, Eric Litwiller, Zhiping Lai, Ingo Pinnau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

330 Scopus citations


A hydrophobic, hydrothermally stable metal-organic framework (MOF) - zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) was successfully incorporated into the selective polyamide (PA) layer of thin-film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes for water desalination. The potential advantages of ZIF-8 over classic hydrophilic zeolite used in TFNs include: i) theoretically faster water transport within the framework and ii) better compatibility with the PA matrix. The TFN membranes were characterized with SEM, TEM, AFM, XPS, water contact angle measurements and reverse osmosis tests under 15.5bar hydraulic pressure with 2000ppm NaCl solution. Lab-made, nano-sized (~200nm) ZIF-8 increased water permeance to 3.35±0.08L/m2·h·bar at 0.4% (w/v) loading, 162% higher than the pristine PA membranes; meanwhile, high NaCl rejection was maintained. The TFN surface was less crosslinked and more hydrophilic than that of the pristine PA. A filler encapsulation mechanism was proposed for the effects of filler on TFN membrane surface morphology and properties. This study experimentally verified the potential use of ZIF-8 in advanced TFN RO membranes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The authors acknowledge Dr. Lan Zhao, Dr. Rachid Sougrat and Dr. Mohamed Hedhili from the KAUST Advanced Nanofabrication Imaging and Characterization Core Lab for assistance.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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