Desalination membranes with ultralow biofouling via synergistic chemical and topological strategies

Wansuk Choi, Min Gyu Shin, Cheol Hun Yoo, Hosik Park, You In Park, Jong Suk Lee, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Biofouling is a persistent problem for desalination and water treatment membranes because it critically degrades membrane performance. Here, we report desalination membranes with ultrahigh biofouling resistance fabricated using a synergistic anti-biofouling strategy that combines topological and chemical antifouling modifications. Specifically, both the surface topology and the chemistry of desalination membranes were tailored by creating a biomimetic Sharklet pattern and integrating hydrophilic tannic acid and biocidal silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). The resultant membrane significantly enhanced biofouling resistance compared to the membranes modified by either the topological or chemical modifications alone due to the combinatorial antifouling effect. Importantly, the topological anti-biofouling effect was much more significant than the chemical effect under dynamic flow conditions due to the unique surface flows generated by the Sharklet geometry. Interestingly, the surface flow characteristics of the Sharklet pattern also effectively suppressed the leaching of the incorporated AgNPs and thus prolonged their anti-biofouling effect, highlighting the synergistic effect of the proposed combination strategy. This approach opens a new avenue for the fabrication of functional membranes, coatings and surfaces with superior antifouling and self-cleaning functions by elucidating the underlying antifouling mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119212
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (2019R1A2C1002333 and 2019M3E6A1064103) and the Technology Innovation Program (20010914) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE, Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Biofouling
  • Chemical antifouling
  • Desalination membranes
  • Sharklet pattern
  • Topological control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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