student profile: Miss Jingyuan Fei Fei


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Forward Osmosis membrane fabrication, modification and characterization for wastewater treatment

Supervisors: Zongwen LIU , Jun HUANG

Thesis abstract:

Forward osmosis (FO) is a kind of osmotically driven membrane process in which water flows across a semi-permeate membrane from a feed solution of lower osmotic pressure to a draw solution of higher osmotic pressure. One of the applications for FO membrane is wastewater reclamation as its advantages of low-energy consumption and high separation efficiency. However, membrane fouling has been recognised as one of its significant performance limiting factors, since various foulants such as macromolecules, microorganisms, sparingly soluble minerals and colloidal particles can deposit on the membrane in practical application. This study aims to characterise FO membrane fouling during wastewater reclamation and explore the underlying fouling mechanisms that govern FO fouling. Different types of membranes with different materials and structures were used in this project.
Although FO membrane is believed to be less inclined to fouling compared to pressure-driven membrane processes, there is still a necessity to explain the mechanism in order to acquire better performance. Basically, there are a number of parameters that can affect membrane fouling behaviours especially membrane material and property but not many systematic studies focusing on this problem. For an instance, colloidal and organic fouling in FO membrane is complex because it can be affected by draw solution concentration and solute types; membrane surface properties such as hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity, roughness, charge density and surface functional groups; foulant types, concentration and physicochemical properties, etc.
In this project, a series of characterization and performance tests have been done on FO membranes during wastewater treatment. The characterization methods include SEM, TEM and AFM to observe membrane’s surface and cross-sectional morphology and fouling conditions; ATR-FTIR, contact angle and zeta potential to characterise membrane’s physicochemical properties such as surface functional groups, hydrophilicity and surface charge. After a series of tests on commercial FO membranes, we found that membrane with strong anti-fouling potential acquired a neutral, hydrophilic and smooth surface but few carboxylic groups on it. We also noticed that although both of TFC membrane and CTA membrane belongs to FO membrane, and CTA membrane has a much smoother surface area, it has a relatively lower water permeability and salt rejection and more biodegradable compares to TFA membrane.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Fei, J., Sun, L., Zhou, C., Ling, H., Yan, F., Zhong, X., Lu, Y., Shi, J., Huang, J., Liu, Z. (2017). Tuning the Synthesis of Manganese Oxides´┐ŻNanoparticles for Efficient Oxidation of Benzyl Alcohol. Nanoscale Research Letters, 12(1), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Yan, F., Jiang, J., Li, K., Tian, S., Liu, Z., Shi, J., Chen, X., Fei, J., Lu, Y. (2016). Cyclic Performance of Waste-Derived SiO2 Stabilized, CaO-Based Sorbents for Fast CO2 Capture. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 4(12), 7004-7012. [More Information]

2017

  • Fei, J., Sun, L., Zhou, C., Ling, H., Yan, F., Zhong, X., Lu, Y., Shi, J., Huang, J., Liu, Z. (2017). Tuning the Synthesis of Manganese Oxides´┐ŻNanoparticles for Efficient Oxidation of Benzyl Alcohol. Nanoscale Research Letters, 12(1), 1-9. [More Information]

2016

  • Yan, F., Jiang, J., Li, K., Tian, S., Liu, Z., Shi, J., Chen, X., Fei, J., Lu, Y. (2016). Cyclic Performance of Waste-Derived SiO2 Stabilized, CaO-Based Sorbents for Fast CO2 Capture. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 4(12), 7004-7012. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.