Highly Selective and pH-Stable Reverse Osmosis Membranes Prepared via Layered Interfacial Polymerization

Min Gyu Shin, Wansuk Choi, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrathin and smooth polyamide (PA) reverse osmosis (RO) membranes have attracted significant interest due to their potential advantages of high permeance and low fouling propensity. Although a layered interfacial polymerization (LIP) technique aided by the insertion of a polyelec-trolyte interlayer has proven effective in fabricating ultrathin and uniform membranes, the RO performance and pH stability of the fabricated LIP membrane remain inadequate. In this study, a poly(piperazineamide) (PIPA) layer prepared via interfacial polymerization (IP) was employed as an interlayer to overcome the limitations of the prototype LIP method. Similar to the control polyelectrolyte-interlayered LIP membrane, the PIPA-interlayered LIP (pLIP) membrane had a much thinner (~20 nm) and smoother selective layer than the membrane fabricated via conventional IP due to the highly surface-confined and uniform LIP reaction. The pLIP membrane also exhibited RO performance exceeding that of the control LIP and conventional IP-assembled membranes, by enabling denser monomer deposition and a more confined interfacial reaction. Importantly, the chem-ically crosslinked PIPA interlayer endowed the pLIP membrane with higher pH stability than the control polyelectrolyte interlayer. The proposed strategy enables the fabrication of high-performance and pH-stable PA membranes using hydrophilic supports, which can be applied to other separation processes, including osmosis-driven separation and organic solvent filtration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (2019R1A2C1002333 and 2020R1I1A1A01064474) and the Technology Innovation Program (20010914) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE, Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Desalination
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • Interlayer
  • Layered interfacial polymerization
  • PH stability
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Thin film composite membrane
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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