Use of atomic force microscopy and fractal geometry to characterize the roughness of nano-, micro-, and ultrafiltration membranes
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- Use of atomic force microscopy and fractal geometry to characterize the roughness of nano-, micro-, and ultrafiltration membranes
- Wong, Philip Chuen Yung; Kwon, Young-Nam; Criddle, Craig S.
- Issue Date
- ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
- JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, v.340, no.1-2, pp.117 - 132
- Membrane surface roughness alters the surface area accessible to foulants and may influence macroscopic properties, such as zeta potential. it is usually quantified by atomic force microscopy (AFM) at a single scan size. This would be appropriate if roughness is independent of scale. This study shows that the root-mean-square roughness, R(RMS), is scale (or scan size, L x L) dependent through the power law R(RMS) =AL(3-D). The coefficient, A, is the roughness at a scan size of 1(2) mu m(2). D is the fractal dimension that relates the increase in roughness to the increase in scan size. Values for A and D were determined for a range of micro- and ultrafiltration membranes using an AFM scan series covering at least three orders of magnitude in L. They were also determined for nanofiltration membranes by re-analysis of data in the literature. The results suggest that using the power law expression allows potentially greater discrimination among membrane types and provides a way to quantify membrane roughness over a range of scales. It was further observed that the coefficients A and D of PVDF membranes showed positive and negative correlations, respectively, with the molecular weight cut-off. Additionally, zeta potentials of PVDF membranes measured by the tangential streaming potential method became more negative with increasing A and more positive with increasing D, suggesting possible significant influence of roughness on hydrodynamic transport of ions.
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