Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Carbon Nanomaterials Containing Thin Film Nanocomposite Membranes for Water Desalination and Organic Solvent Nanofiltration Applications
Schaffer, Devin L.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 6 months
Embargo Lift Date2021-05-15
The application of membranes in liquid and gas separation is attractive because of their energy efficiency. Synthesis of membranes with well-defined nanostructure is necessary to achieve highly permeability and selectivity for separation processes. Recently, carbon nanomaterials such as graphene oxide nanoplatelets (GONPs) and carbon nanodots (CNDs) have emerged as an interesting class of nanomaterials due to their unique properties and tailorable functionalities. Incorporation of these nanomaterials in the membranes has been shown to improve membrane selectivity, mechanical robustness, and chemical stability. This dissertation elaborates on developing CNDs or GONPs embedded thin film composite (TFC) membranes using layer-by-layer (LbL) synthesis technique. Regarding the water desalination applications, GONPs were used to enhance the TFC membranes’ selectivity, chlorine resistant properties, and surface hydrophilicity. Incorporation of GONPs in the polyamide layer via LbL method resulted in an increase of surface hydrophilicity and salt rejection properties. Upon exposure to chlorine, GONPs embedded membranes retained salt rejection performance better than the pristine membranes (without GONPs). The LbL assembly was used to synthesize CNDs based TFC membranes for organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) applications. Using the LbL framework, amine-functionalized CNDs were covalently crosslinked with trimesoyl chloride monomer to obtain nanoscale membranes. The synthesized membranes manifested high selectivity (up to 90%) when tested for dye molecules such as brilliant blue and disperse red in methanol. As the CNDs synthesized here are fluorescent under UV light, the resultant film is also fluorescent. This property can be harnessed for diagnostic purposes, such as tracking mechanical failure and fouling of the membranes. Based on the results, it can be concluded that the incorporation of carbon nanomaterials in the polymeric membranes has enhanced the hydrophilicity, mechanical stability, and chlorine resistant properties of the membranes. Overall, the LbL platform can be considered as a modular method in embedding nanoparticles in TFC membranes.