CHLORAMINATION OF POLYAMIDE-BASED REVERSE OSMOSIS MEMBRANES IN THE PRESENCE OF HALIDES

2019-08-13T19:41:05Z (GMT) by Holly M Haflich
Polyamide based reverse osmosis (PA-RO) membranes are applied for the desalination of halide-containing waters such as seawater and brackish groundwater. They are the industry standard because of their high selectivity and ability to withstand a wide range of pH. However, one of their pitfalls is their propensity to undergo biofouling, which is deterioration due to biological growth. Biofouling is known to dramatically decrease membrane performance and increase energy consumption. In order to overcome biofouling, a disinfectant, typically free chlorine, is applied; however, free chlorine is known to react with the polyamide layer and result in further membrane deterioration and performance loss.
One topic that has garnered less attention is the application of chloramines and their interactions with the PA-RO membrane when applied as a biofouling control. Furthermore, the role of halides (e.g. chloride, bromide, and iodide) in the presence of chloramines must be further explored because they are known to react to form secondary species which are reactive toward PA-RO membranes. In Chapter 2, the PA based monomers benzanilide (BA) and N-Methyl-N-phenylbenzamide (N-CH3-BA) were used to model the PA layer. Monomers were exposed to halide containing waters and chloraminated with pre-formed NH2Cl over a wide range of pH. The decay and by-product formation after exposure were evaluated using HPLC-DAD, LC/MS, and/or GC/MS. Results indicated that pH of the system and bromide concentration controlled parent compound decay and brominated by-product formation, where low pH and high bromide concentrations led to the highest formation of brominated by-products.
In Chapter 3, commercially made PA-RO membranes (SWC4-LD) were chloraminated or chlorinated with and without halides over a wide pH range. Their performance was evaluated after exposure through flux experiments using a dead-end flow cell. Results indicated that exposure to free chlorine led to the greatest change in flux and monochloramine resulted in the smallest change in flux. During chloramination of the membranes, the reactors containing bromide led to further change in flux than the chloramine only conditions. This was likely due to formation of secondary species that were reactive toward the PA membrane. Furthermore, Chapter 4 summarizes overall research contributions from this work and proposes future work pertaining to this topic.