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Recent Progress in the Applications of Layer-By-Layer Assembly to the Preparation of Nanostructured Ion-Rejecting Water Purification Membranes

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Reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) are the two dominant membrane separation processes responsible for ion rejection. While RO is highly efficient in removal of ions it needs a high operating pressure and offers very low selectivity between ions. Nanofiltration on the other hand has a comparatively low operating pressure and most commercial membranes offer selectivity in terms of ion rejection. However in many nanofiltration operations rejection of monovalent ions is not appreciable. Therefore a high flux high rejection membrane is needed that can be applied to water purification systems. One such alternative is the usage of polyelectrolyte multilayer membranes that are prepared by the deposition of alternately charged polyelectrolytes via layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly method. LbL is one of the most common self-assembly techniques and finds application in various areas. It has a number of tunable parameters like deposition conditions, number of bilayers deposited etc. which can be manipulated as per the type of application. This technique can be applied to make a nanothin membrane skin which gives high rejection and at the same time allow a high water flux across it. Several research groups have applied this highly versatile technique to prepare membranes that can be employed for water purification. Some of these membranes have shown better performance than the commercial nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes. These membranes have the potential to be applied to various different aspects of water treatment like water softening, desalination and recovery of certain ions. Besides the conventional method of LbL technique other alternative methods have also been suggested that can make the technique fast, more efficient and thereby make it more commercially acceptable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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