Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration Multilayer Membranes Based on Cellulose

  • Sara Livazovic

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Membrane processes are considered energy-efficient for water desalination and treatment. However most membranes are based on polymers prepared from fossil petrochemical sources. The development of multilayer membranes for nanofiltration and ultrafiltration, with thin selective layers of naturally available cellulose, has been hampered by the availability of non-aggressive solvents. We propose the manufacture of cellulose membranes based on two approaches: (i) silylation, coating from solutions in tetrahydrofuran, followed by solvent evaporation and cellulose regeneration by acid treatment; (ii) casting from solution in 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolum acetate ([C2mim]OAc), an ionic liquid, followed by phase inversion in water. In the search for less harsh, greener membrane manufacture, the combination of cellulose and ionic liquid is of high interest. Due to the abundance of OH groups and hydrophilicity, cellulose-based membranes have high permeability and low fouling tendency. Membrane fouling is one of the biggest challenges in membrane industry and technology. Accumulation and deposition of foulants onto the surface reduce membrane efficiency and requires harsh chemical cleaning, therefore increasing the cost of maintenance and replacement. In this work the resistance of cellulose 5 membranes towards model organic foulants such as Suwanee River Humic Acid (SRHA) and crude oil have been investigated. Cellulose membrane was tested in this work for oil-water (o/w) separation and exhibited practically 100 % oil rejection with good flux recovery ratio and membrane resistivity. The influence of anionic, cationic and ionic surfactant as well as pH and crude oil concentration on oil separation was investigated, giving a valuable insight in experimental and operational planning.
Date of AwardJun 9 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorSuzana Nunes (Supervisor)


  • Ultrafiltration
  • Nanofiltration
  • Membranes
  • Cellulose
  • Ionic Liquid
  • Anti-Fouling

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