Development of Improved Membranes for ROWPU Spiral-Wound Elements

Period of Performance: 11/13/1998 - 11/12/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Separation Systems Technology, Inc.
4901 Morena Boulevard, Building 809
San Diego, CA 92117
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Mobile reverse osmosis water purification unite (ROWPU) have been used by the U.S. Armed Services for over a decade to produce potable water for field applications. Although improvements in the technology of operation and in the performance of the membrane elements have been significantly improved since that time, several major membrane deficiencies still exist that restrict operational efficiency. These deficiencies are poor resistance to oxidative materials, excessive fouling rates, biofouling due to bacterial attachment, instability of transport properties after manufacturing and inadequate sterilization methods for long-term storage, Phase I studies demonstrated cause and effect of these deficiencies, developed methodologies for approaching the problems and determined the feasibility for successful solutions. A Phase II program is proposed to extend this evaluation with a major focus on the development of an oxidation-resistant ROWPU membrane. The proposed polyamide thin-film composite membrane system will be based on the reaction of m-henylenediamine with ctct-cyclopentanetetracarboxylic acid chloride. The synthesis, isolation and purification of the cis, trans, cis, trans isomer of the acid chloride will be conducted along with field testing of resulting membranes. In addition, solutions to the remaining aforementioned membrane deficiencies will be pursued.BENEFITS:Potential use of these membrane improvements by both U.S. companies and the Federal Government would be substantial, A considerable cost savings in element replacement and increased efficiency in system operation due to minimized fouling. Detrimental effects of long-term storage would also be minimized.