Fabrication of high performance and durable forward osmosis membranes using mussel-inspired polydopamine-modified polyethylene supports

Soon Jin Kwon, Sang Hee Park, Min Gyu Shin, Min Sang Park, Kiho Park, Seungkwan Hong, Hosik Park, You In Park, Jung-hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


A thin film composite (TFC) forward osmosis (FO) membrane with high performance and superb durability was fabricated on a polydopamine (PDA)-modified polyethylene (DPE) support via an unconventional aromatic solvent-based interfacial polymerization (IP) method. The PDA coating uniformly hydrophilized the hydrophobic pristine polyethylene (PE) support, which enabled the long-term operation stability. The thin (∼8 μm) and highly porous support structure with interconnected pores was preserved after the PDA modification, leading to a remarkably low structural parameter (∼168 μm) of the support. In addition, the use of the toluene-based IP process allowed for the formation of a highly permselective polyamide selective layer on the hydrophilic DPE support, which was challenging with the conventional aliphatic solvent-based IP process. Hence, the prepared DPE-supported TFC (DPE-TFC) membrane exhibited unprecedented high FO performance, i.e., ∼4.5 times higher FO water flux and ∼63% lower specific salt flux (in FO mode) compared to the commercial HTI-CTA membrane. Furthermore, the DPE-TFC membrane possessed superior mechanical robustness, which guarantee durable operability and potential application even in mechanically harsh environments. Hence, the PE-supported FO membrane presents a new paradigm in FO membrane technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 15



  • Forward osmosis
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • Polydopamine
  • Polyethylene
  • Thin film composite membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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