Journal of Polymer Research

, 25:199 | Cite as

Fabrication of fullerenol-incorporated thin-film nanocomposite forward osmosis membranes for improved desalination performances

  • M. Gimhani N. Perera
  • Yeshan R. Galagedara
  • Yiwei RenEmail author
  • Mahesh Jayaweera
  • Yuntao Zhao
  • Rohan Weerasooriya


Development and use of novel membranes for forward osmosis (FO) applications have gained popularity throughout the world. To enhance FO membrane performance, a novel thin-film nanocomposite membrane was fabricated by interfacial polymerization incorporating Fullerenol (C60(OH)n) nanomaterial, having n in the range of 24–28 into the active layer. Different concentrations of fullerenol loading (100, 200, 400, and 800 ppm) were added to the top skin layer. The structural and surface properties of the pure thin-film composite membrane (TFC) and fullerenol-incorporated thin-film nanocomposite (FTFC) membranes, were characterized by ATR-FTIR, SEM, and AFM. FO performance and separation properties were evaluated in terms of water flux, reverse salt flux, antifouling propensity, water permeability and salt permeability for all TFC and FTFC membranes. Osmotic performance tests showed that FTFC membranes achieved higher water flux and reverse salt flux selectivity compared with those of TFC membranes. The FTFC membrane with a fullerenol loading of 400 ppm exhibited a water flux of 26.1 L m−2 h−1 (LMH), which is 83.03% higher than that of the TFC membrane with a specific reverse salt flux of 0.18 g/L using 1 M sodium chloride draw solution against deionized water in FO mode. The fullerenol incorporation in FTFC membranes also contributed to a decreased fouling propensity.


Fouling Permeability Salt flux Water contact angle Water flux 



water permeability


active layer facing draw solution


active layer facing feed solution


effective membrane area


salt permeability


carbon nanotubes


volume of feed solution


draw solute concentration


forward osmosis


flux reduction ratio


flux recovery ratio


fullerenol-incorporated thin-film composite


graphene oxide


interfacial polymerization


final water flux after the physical cleaning


initial flux


reverse salt flux


specific salt flux


flux after accelerated fouling test


water flux


pressure retarded osmosis




thin-film composite


test time


volume change



This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51503205 and 51478452) and the National Research Council of Sri Lanka (Grant No. NRC-TO-16-015).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gimhani N. Perera
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yeshan R. Galagedara
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yiwei Ren
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mahesh Jayaweera
    • 3
  • Yuntao Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rohan Weerasooriya
    • 4
  1. 1.Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent TechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesChongqingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of MoratuwaKatubeddaSri Lanka
  4. 4.Environmental Science ProgramNational Institute of Fundamental Studies Hantana RoadKandySri Lanka

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