Studies on the development of improved reverse osmosis membranes from cellulose acetate–acetone–formamide casting solutions

Authors

  • Rachel Pilon,

    1. Division of Chemistry, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
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  • B. Kunst,

    1. Division of Chemistry, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. Institute of Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Technology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Yugoslavia
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  • S. Sourirajan

    1. Division of Chemistry, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
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Abstract

Improved membranes from cellulose acetate–acetone–formamide casting solutions have been prepared for low-pressure reverse osmosis applications. The film-casting details for one such type of membranes (Batch 400) are as follows. Casting solution composition: cellulose acetate (E-398-3), 17 wt-%, acetone, 56 wt-%, formamide, 27 wt-%; temperature of casting solution, 24°C; temperature of casting atmosphere, 24°C; casting atmosphere, ambient air in contact with 30 wt-% acetone in aqueous solution; solvent evaporation period, 30 sec; gelation medium, ice-cold water. Using aqueous feed solutions containing 3500 ppm of NaCl, the product rates obtained with the above membranes at 95, 90, and 60% levels of solute separation were 15.9, 22.1, and 58.7 gallons/(day ft2), respectively, at 250 psig under feed flow conditions corresponding to a mass transfer coefficient of 45 × 10−4 cm/sec on the high-pressure side of the membrane. The effects of casting solution composition, presence of acetone in the casting atmosphere, evaporation period, evaporation rate constant, and the remoteness of casting solution composition from the corresponding phase boundary composition on membrane performance and shrinkage temperature profile were found to be similar to those reported earlier for membranes obtained from cellulose acetate–acetone–aqueous magnesium perchlorate casting solutions. The results illustrate the practical utility of the approach based on the solution structure–evaporation rate concept for creating more productive reverse osmosis membranes.

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