Structural tailoring of sharkskin-mimetic patterned reverse osmosis membranes for optimizing biofouling resistance

Wansuk Choi, Changhoon Lee, Cheol Hun Yoo, Min Gyu Shin, Gi Wook Lee, Taek Seung Kim, Hyun Wook Jung, Jong Suk Lee, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Controlling biofouling is critical for membrane materials exposed to aquatic environments. Specifically, the sharkskin-mimetic, so-called Sharklet, surface pattern has proven effective for suppressing biofilm formation on desalination membranes. In this study, a series of Sharklet patterns with different unit and pattern spacings were designed on reverse osmosis (RO) membrane surfaces to identify the effect of the Sharklet pattern dimension on membrane biofouling. A high fidelity of Sharklet-patterned RO membranes with different spacing dimensions were successfully fabricated by micromolding combined with layered interfacial polymerization. The biofouling behavior of the fabricated Sharklet-patterned RO membranes was systematically characterized under both static and dynamic conditions. Importantly, dynamic biofouling results showed that the anti-biofouling effect of the Sharklet pattern was optimized when the unit and pattern spacings were both 2 μm. Computational fluid dynamics simulation elucidated the surface flow characteristics of the Sharklet patterns depending on the spacing dimensions. The maximized anti-biofouling performance of the Sharklet pattern with 2 μm spacings was hypothesized to be determined by the balance between the intrinsic biofouling propensity (under static conditions) and surface flow characteristics such as vortex and primary/secondary flows (under dynamic conditions).

Original languageEnglish
Article number117602
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 1


  • Biofouling
  • Biomimetic pattern
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Sharklet
  • Thin film composite membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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