Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $22,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $46,499
Principal Investigators: Zhiqiang Hu
Abstract: It is known that interactions of natural organic matters (NOMs) and chlorine could generates a number of harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs) such as trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Among various methods used for the control of DBPs, removal of NOMs by membrane-based nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) is considered one of the most effective approaches. The membrane treatment has merits because they are capable of removing NOMs and other contaminants simultaneously and easily adaptable to different scales with modular design. In addition, it has become increasingly cost-competitive in comparison with other approaches such as coagulation/flocculation and carbon adsorption. The overall goal of this research is to develop high performance mixed matrix nano composite membranes (MMM) that could be used to effectively remove NOMs from the source water and thus decrease or eliminate the formation of DBPs during water chlorination. The key hypotheses are that the membrane removal efficiency for NOMs can be significantly enhanced by introducing more negative charges and higher hydrophilicity on the membrane surface via embedment of various silica nanoparticles. We will use polyamide as the thin-film layer on the polysulfone support to make thin-film composite, and select various silica nanoparticles as fillers. Specific objectives are to: 1) Fabricate mixed matrix nano-composite membranes (MMMs) with various silica nanoparticles; 2) Evaluate membrane performance in terms of water permeability and removal of NOMs; and 3) Assess the impact of NOM removal on the production of DBPs. This study addresses one of the most challenging issues facing many municipal water supplies in the State of Missouri, and the results may lead to the development of a more cost-effective membrane approach for the control of DBPs.