Polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel-supported forward osmosis membranes with high performance and excellent pH stability

Dal Yong Kim, Hosik Park, You In Park, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A new class of a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel support was used to fabricate a forward osmosis (FO) membrane with high performance and excellent pH resistance. The intrinsically hydrophilic PVA support formed by non-solvent-induced phase separation and subsequent crosslinking exhibited a thin (∼40 μm) and highly porous scaffold-like structure with high pore interconnectivity, achieving a considerably low structural parameter (∼184 μm). Toluene-assisted interfacial polymerization was also employed to fabricate a polyamide (PA) selective layer with high water permeance and salt selectivity on the prepared hydrophilic PVA support. The fabricated PVA supported-thin film composite (PVA-TFC) membrane exhibited 2.7–3.7 times higher FO mode water flux and 70–78% lower specific salt flux than commercial FO membranes with a draw solution of 1.0 M NaCl and a feed solution of DI water. The PVA-TFC membrane also outperformed other previously reported FO membranes. In addition, the PVA-TFC membrane had superior pH resistance when compared with commercial FO membranes, which is imparted by the excellent pH stability of both its PA selective layer and PVA support. Our strategy paves the way for the fabrication of high-performance and pH-resistant FO membranes that can be employed in harsh water environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 25

Bibliographical note

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

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Korean Society of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry


  • Forward osmosis
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • pH stability
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Thin film composite membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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