Pseudo-bottle-brush decorated thin-film composite desalination membranes with ultrahigh mineral scale resistance

Eric Ziemann, Tali Coves, Yaeli S. Oren, Nitzan Maman, Revital Sharon-Gojman, Vadim Neklyudov, Viatcheslav Freger, Guy Z. Ramon, Roy Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High water recovery is crucial to inland desalination but is impeded by mineral scaling of the membrane. This work presents a two-step modification approach for grafting high-density zwitterionic pseudo-bottle-brushes to polyamide reverse osmosis membranes to prevent scaling during high-recovery desalination of brackish water. Increasing brush density, induced by increasing reaction time, correlated with reduced scaling. High-density grafting eliminated gypsum scaling and almost completely prevented silica scaling during desalination of synthetic brackish water at a recovery ratio of 80%. Moreover, scaling was effectively mitigated during long-term desalination of real brackish water at a recovery ratio of 90% without pretreatment or antiscalants. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal the critical dependence of the membrane's silica antiscaling ability on the degree to which the coating screens the membrane surface from readily forming silica aggregates. This finding highlights the importance of maximizing grafting density for optimal performance and advanced antiscaling properties to allow high-recovery desalination of complex salt solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)eadm7668
JournalScience advances
Issue number21
StatePublished - 24 May 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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