Layer-by-layer assembly of inorganic nanosheets and polyelectrolytes for reverse osmosis composite membranes

Jungkyu Choi, Hyemin Sung, Yongmin Ko, Seunghye Lee, Wanseok Choi, Joona Bang, Jinhan Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we introduce a layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly method to prepare a reverse osmosis (RO) desalination membrane that consists of a hybrid combination of [polyelectrolyte (PE)/montmorillonite (MTM)]n layers. First, adopting poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) for a PE layer, an RO test showed that the permeate flux of water through (PAH/ MTM)n multilayer-coated membranes decreased from -25.5 to - 8.3 L·m_2·h_1 with the increased bilayer number from n = 9 to n = 18. At the same time, the corresponding ion rejection with respect to NaCl is increased from -30 to - 81%. Despite the increased ion rejection performance, (PAH/MTM)n membranes exhibit a poor chlorine resistance, as frequently observed in commercial polyamide-based RO membranes. In our previous study, it was noted that the RO membranes, prepared just from the PE multilayers (i.e., [PAH/poly(acrylic acid) (PAA)]n layers), showed a marked chlorine tolerance, but concomitantly very low permeate flux (-4-5 L·m_2·h_1). Considering the significant drawback in each case (poor chlorine tolerance for (PAH/MTM)n layers and low permeate flux for (PAH/PAA)n layers), we proposed to combine the layer constituents primarily by inserting PAH/PAA layers between two adjacent PAH/MTM layers. Indeed, the flux is maintained at -7.5±0.5 L·m_2·h_1, comparable to commercial membranes, while the salt rejection ability is as high as - 75±2.5% and the stability against the chlorine attack is well preserved with - 74±5.0% ion rejection after the NaOCl treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Engineering of Japan
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Electrostatic interaction
  • Layer-by-layer assembly
  • Montmorillon-ite (MTM) nanosheet
  • Polyelectrolyte layers
  • RO membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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