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(538d) Hollow Fiber Lumen Modification Via Environmentally Friendly Poly(zwitterion) Grafting

Le, N. L., King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Chung, T. S., National University of Singapore
Ulbricht, M., Universität Duisburg-Essen
Quilitzsch, M., Universität Duisburg-Essen
Hong, P., King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Cheng, H., King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Membrane fouling is a major obstacle to the practical applications of membrane-based techniques such as ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, forward osmosis and pressure-retarded osmosis. To prevent organic fouling, surface modification with hydrophilic polymers has been identified as a potential strategy because many organic foulants are hydrophobic in nature. Efficiency of fouling prevention depends on surface materials and modification techniques. Although grafting poly(ethylene) glycol improves fouling propensity, the layer is susceptible to cleaning solutions, which becomes critical in long-term operations. Zwitterionic polymers are demonstrated as a promising alternative non-fouling material because of their high capacity to generate a stable hydration layer which resists to non-specific protein adsorption. On the other hand, an environmentally friendly grafting technique was developed with a capability of modifying the lumen of hollow fiber membranes, where common techniques such as UV or plasma treatments are unlikely to be feasible and other techniques requiring thermal control are also complicated. This work is an important contribution to reduce fouling and eliminate constrains, which are currently seen as hurdles for the use of hollow fibers in specific membrane-based applications.