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Keywords:

  • pressure retarded osmosis;
  • thin-film composite;
  • hollow fiber;
  • membrane robustness;
  • power density;
  • reverse salt flux

Novel fabrication perspectives have been demonstrated to molecularly construct robust hollow fiber membrane supports for high performance thin-film composite (TFC) pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) membranes. For the first time, we found that the desirable hollow fiber supports should possess high stretch resistance and acceptable ductility. The microstructure strength of the hollow fiber support may have more weights on overall robustness of the TFC PRO membranes than the apparent cross-section morphology. Effectively manipulating the kinetics of phase inversion during spinning by maneuvering bore fluid chemistry, and polymer solution composition is a promising method to tailor the strength of hollow fiber supports. Prestabilization of the TFC membranes at elevated lumen pressures can significantly improve their PRO performance. The newly developed TFC PRO hollow fiber membranes exhibit a power density as high as 16.5 W/m2 and a very low specific reverse salt flux (Js/Jw) of 0.015 mol/L at a hydraulic pressure of 15 bar using synthetic seawater brine (1.0 M NaCl) as the draw solution. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 1107–1119, 2014