Polyethyleneimine (PEI) cross-linked P84 nanofiltration (NF) hollow fiber membranes for Pb2+ removal

Jie Gao, Shi Peng Sun, Wen Ping Zhu, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


We have molecularly designed positively charged nanofiltration (NF) membranes by chemical cross-linking modification of P84 porous hollow fiber substrates with hyperbranched polyethyleneimine (PEI) 60,000. Experimental results show that both the macroscopic and microscopic morphology of P84 substrates affect the NF performance of the PEI cross-linked membranes. To withstand high pressure operations, macrovoid-free hollow fiber substrates were developed by manipulating dope formulation and spinning conditions with the addition of methanol or ethanol in spinning dopes. To design NF membranes with a narrow pore size suitable for the PEI cross-linking modification, a critical mean effective pore radius (rp) of 1.5nm was found for the substrates and the resultant PEI cross-linked membrane can be used effectively for heavy metal removal. The rejection data of MgCl2, Pb(NO3)2 and glucose indicate that Donnan exclusion is the dominant rejection mechanism when the pore radius of the cross-linked membrane is over 0.34nm while size exclusion plays a more important role if the pore size is less than 0.34nm. The rejections of MgCl2 and Pb(NO3)2 increase with an increase in transmembrane pressure. Upon optimizing the transmembrane pressure and solution pH, the optimal rejections of Pb(NO3)2 was achieved at 91.05%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-310
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Feb 15 2014


  • Hollow fiber membranes
  • Hyperbranched polyethyleneimine
  • Lead
  • Nanofiltration
  • Pore size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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