Regulation of interfacial polymerization by organic base for high-permselective nanofiltration

Huiying Ding, Yuting Liu, Zhong Zhang, Yanjun Cheng, Jiahao Mo, Lu Elfa Peng, Cheng Xiang, Hongchang Pei*, Xianhui Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In the synthesis of the polyamide nanofiltration (NF) membrane, the hydrogen chloride is a by-product generated at the organic interface from interfacial polymerization, which reduces the reactivity of amine monomers due to protonation. Herein, a strategy of addition of an organic base in the organic phase to neutralize the H+ was reported. The performances of the membranes produced using three organic bases with different chain lengths were explored. The results showed that the organic base neutralized the H+ and promoted the rate of interfacial condensation reaction, which facilitated the formation of a dense and thin polyamide layer. Moreover, compared to control membrane, the membrane modified by organic base exhibited higher water permeance without sacrificing salt rejection. Higher diffusion rate of HCl through PES substrate compared to NF membrane indicated that HCl diffusion was mainly affected by the resistance of polyamide layer. Molecular simulations demonstrated that triethylamine (TEA) has lower energy barrier of neutralization and higher reaction heat in comparison with tripropylamine and N, N-diisopropylethylamine. The TEA modified membrane thereby displayed a permeance up to 24.3Lh−1m−2 bar−1 and Na2SO4 rejection of 98.8 %. This work provided a promising strategy for the regulation of interfacial polymerization in achieving high-permselective nanofiltration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117212
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Nanofiltration membrane
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • Organic base
  • Neutralization
  • Highly permselective


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