Effect of mobile cation on zeolite-polyamide thin film nanocomposite membranes

Mary Laura Lind, Byeong Heon Jeong, Arun Subramani, Xiaofei Huang, Eric M.V. Hoek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Hybrid zeolite-polyamide thin film nanocomposite (TFN) reverse osmosis membranes were synthesized by incorporating Linde type A (LTA)-type zeolite molecular sieve nanocrystals in the interfacial polymerization reaction used to form polyamide thin films. Nanocrystals were prepared with two different mobile cations (Na + and Ag +) exchanged within the LTA crystal matrix. Incorporation of molecular sieve nanocrystals into polyamide thin films during interfacial polymerization was verified by infrared spectroscopy. Both TFN membranes exhibited higher water permeability, while maintaining similar salt rejection to pure polyamide thin film composite membranes. Nanocomposite thin films containing LTA nanocrystals in the silver form (AgA) produced a greater increase in water permeability than those in the sodium form (NaA). Furthermore, AgA-TFN membranes exhibited more hydrophilic and smooth interfaces, which appeared to inhibit adhesion of bacteria cells onto the membranes. The AgA nanocrystals exhibited significant bactericidal activity; however, when encapsulated within polyamide thin films the antimicrobial activity was significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1631
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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