Nanoscale Pillar-Enhanced Tribological Surfaces as Antifouling Membranes

Wansuk Choi, Edwin P. Chan, Jong Hyun Park, Won Gi Ahn, Hyun Wook Jung, Seungkwan Hong, Jong Suk Lee, Ji Young Han, Sangpil Park, Doo Hyun Ko, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


We present a nonconventional membrane surface modification approach that utilizes surface topography to manipulate the tribology of foulant accumulation on water desalination membranes via imprinting of submicron titanium dioxide (TiO2) pillar patterns onto the molecularly structured, flat membrane surface. This versatile approach overcomes the constraint of the conventional approach relying on interfacial polymerization that inevitably leads to the formation of ill-defined surface topography. Compared to the nonpatterned membranes, the patterned membranes showed significantly improved fouling resistance for both organic protein and bacterial foulants. The use of hydrophilic TiO2 as a pattern material increases the membrane hydrophilicity, imparting improved chemical antifouling resistance to the membrane. Fouling behavior was also interpreted in terms of the topographical effect depending on the relative size of foulants to the pattern dimension. In addition, computational fluid dynamics simulation suggests that the enhanced antifouling of the patterned membrane is attributed to the enhancement in overall and local shear stress at the fluid-TiO2 pattern interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31433-31441
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 16

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • antifouling
  • layer-by-layer assembly
  • membranes
  • nanoscale patterns
  • reverse osmosis
  • thin film composites
  • water desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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