Damage to membranes during operation and the consequential loss of process integrity are prevalent problems in membrane-based separation processes, particularly in water and wastewater treatment where ensuring product water quality is essential. We herein present an innovative method of healing compromised polymeric membranes without requiring the knowledge of damage location and the disassembly of a system. This in situ healing method involves preferential blocking of a damaged site using chitosan agglomerates and subsequent cross-linking with glutaraldehyde to form a sturdy plug. Results of this proof-of-concept study suggest that a sample ultrafiltration membrane with severe physical damage could recover its nearly original performance in terms of water permeability (96%) and solute/particle rejection (87-100%) by the healing process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis