Layer-by-layer construction of graphene oxide (GO) framework composite membranes for highly efficient heavy metal removal

Yu Zhang, Sui Zhang, Jie Gao, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

239 Scopus citations


In this study, an ultrathin graphene oxide (GO) framework layer was successfully deposited on a modified Torlon® hollow fiber support via a layer-by-layer (LbL) approach, enabling the composite membrane with superior nanofiltration (NF) performance. To molecularly design the GO framework, the substrate layer was firstly cross-linked with polyethylenimine (HPEI), followed by repeating the GO and ethylenediamine (EDA) deposition cycles and then an amine-enrichment modification by HPEI. The combination of the GO framework layer and the Torlon® support can not only effectively seal the defects of the composite membrane with a narrow pore size distribution but also reduce the polymer consumption for the fabrication of traditional integrally skinned NF membranes. The GO/Torlon® composite membrane has rejections higher than 95% towards Pb2+, Ni2+, and Zn2+ with a superior water permeability of 4.7 L m-2 h-1 bar-1. The membrane also exhibits excellent long-term performance stability during a 150-h NF test. Thus, the newly developed membrane has great potential for heavy metal removal. This study may provide useful insights on the fabrication of new generation 2-dimensional (2D) NF membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • 2D membranes
  • Graphene oxide framework
  • Heavy metal
  • Hollow fiber
  • Layer-by-layer
  • Nanofiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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