skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on May 5, 2019

Title: Novel graphene quantum dots (GQDs)-incorporated thin film composite (TFC) membranes for forward osmosis (FO) desalination

This paper reports a novel class of thin film composite (TFC) membranes for forward osmosis (FO) desalination. The TFC membranes were fabricated via interfacial polymerization (IP) of aqueous mixture of polyethyleneimine (PEI) and graphene quantum dots (GQDs) with organic solution of trimesoyl chloride (TMC) on modified polyacrylonitrile (PAN) ultrafiltration substrates. The chemical structures and morphologies of the synthesized GQDs and the GQDs-incorporated membranes were studied by various characterization techniques. The synthesized GQDs exhibited a narrow size distribution of 1.0–4.0 nm with an average size of 2.19 nm, and the thickness were one to three graphene layers. The results showed that GQDs nanoparticles were covalently bonded to the polyamide chains. The optimized TFC membrane with 0.050 wt% GQDs loading exhibited quite hydrophilic and neutrally charged membrane surface, along with an enhanced water flux of 12.9 L m –2 h –1 and a comparable reverse salt flux of 1.41 g m –2 h –1 when DI water and 0.5 M MgCl2 were used as the feed solution and the draw solution, respectively. Also, the optimized GQDs-incorporated TFC membrane presented an especially good anti-fouling performance. Furthermore, incorporating the novel graphene nanomaterial into polymer membranes may present its great potential application in desalination, purificationmore » and wastewater treatment.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Ocean Univ. of China, Qingdao (China)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Desalination; Journal ID: ISSN 0011-9164
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; Thin film composite; Forward osmosis; Graphene quantum dots; Interfacial polymerization; Polyamide; Membranes
OSTI Identifier: