Variation of free volume and thickness by high pressure applied on thin film composite reverse osmosis membrane

Kyoung Hoon Chu, Ji Sung Mang, Jihun Lim, Seungkwan Hong, Moon Hyun Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Analytical technologies for polymeric membranes, including positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), were employed to understand the origin and harmful effects of thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane compaction. Although no variation in water flux exceeding 10% from the initial flux was observed under all compaction pressures, the hydraulic pressure induced by the high-pressure pump caused a rapid contraction of the free volume and thickness of the TFC RO membrane. In particular, due to the viscoelastic polymer properties of the active layer, a reduction of approximately 15% free volume and 48% thickness was observed at a compaction pressure of 60 bar. Consequently, the analytical procedures can provide a better understanding of membrane compaction during pressurized membrane processes and strategic development to reduce the harmful effects of membrane compaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115365
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through Industrial Facilities & Infrastructure Research Program, funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) ( 146834 and 1485017292 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Free volume
  • Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS)
  • Reverse osmosis (RO) membrane compaction
  • Thickness
  • Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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