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Membrane Water Treatment
  Volume 4, Number 2, April 2013, pages 109-126

Effect of NH3 plasma on thin-film composite membrane: Relationship of membrane and plasma properties
Eun-Sik Kim and Baolin Deng

    Surface modification by low-pressure ammonia (NH3) plasma on commercial thin-film composite (TFC) membranes was investigated in this study. Surface hydrophilicity, total surface free energy, ion exchange capacity (IEC) and zeta (ζ)-potentials were determined for the TFC membranes. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the membrane surface chemistry were conducted by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) spectroscopy. Results showed that the NH3 plasma treatment increased the surface hydrophilicity, in particular at a plasma treatment time longer than 5 min at 50 W of plasma power. Total surface free energy was influenced by the basic polar components introduced by the NH3 plasma, and isoelectric point (IEP) was shifted to higher pH region after the modification. A ten (10) min NH3 plasma treatment at 90 W was found to be adequate for the TFC membrane modification, resulting in a membrane with better characteristics than the TFC membranes without the modification for water treatment. The thin-film chemistry (i.e., fully-aromatic and semi-aromatic nature in the interfacial polymerization) influenced the initial stage of plasma modification.
Key Words
    thin-film composite; modification; membranes; NH3 plasma; physico-chemical properties
Eun-Sik Kim: Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA; Baolin Deng: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

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