Ph.D Defense by Chen Chen

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School of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Ph.D. Thesis Defense Announcement





Chen Chen



Dr. John Crittenden (CEE)


Committee Members: 

Dr. Yongsheng Chen (CEE), Dr. Ching-Hua Huang (CEE),

Dr. William J. Koros (ChBE), Dr. Yonathan Thio (ChBE)


Date & Time: Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 1:00pm

Location:  Conference Room C (338), 828 West Peachtree Street



The applications of membrane technologies have dramatically increased during the last few decades due to technology improvement and cost reduction. Membrane applications can be found in water and wastewater treatment, pharmaceutical industry, chemical processing industry, food industry, etc. However, the membrane technology faces two major challenges: membrane fouling and membrane lifetime. During the membrane filtration process, membrane fouling caused by natural organic matter (NOM) is an inevitable phenomenon, and physical cleaning or chemical cleaning are required for recovering the performance of membrane. As a result of these cleaning processes, membrane lifetime is shortened. For this reason, it is necessary to improve membrane's fouling resistance and lifetime in order to apply membrane technology in large-scale facilities.

This dissertation focuses on improving the fouling resistance and flux performance of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane. Specifically, it is comprised of four parts. First, I prepared PVC membranes by adding different amounts of amphiphilic copolymer (Pluronic F 127) into PVC casting solutions. I optimized the performance of PVC membranes by changing the amount of Pluronic F127 used in the casting solution. The results show that with the increase of Pluronic F 127 content, the pore size and pore density both decrease. Moreover, the membrane surface becomes more hydrophilic as indicated by lower contact angles. In addition, the PVC membrane exhibits remarkable antifouling characteristics after adding Pluronic F 127. Second, I synthesized PVDF membranes by adding PVDF graft poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA) (PVDF-g-PEGMA) as additive in casting solutions via the phase inversion method. The synthesized PVDF membranes have unique pillar-like structures on surfaces, which gives the PVDF membrane a defect-free feature and allows it to generate high flux under low pressure. Third, I investigated the forming mechanism of the pillar-like structure from aspects of solvent and additive. Finally, I investigated the influence of PEGMA dose on the performance of PVDF membranes. I changed the amount of PEGMA used in the casting solution and compared the performance of the synthesized PVDF membranes.

To summarize, this dissertation has deepened our understanding of how to improve the fouling resistance and flux performance of PVC membranes and PVDF membranes by using amphiphilic copolymer. In addition, the PVDF membrane I synthesized has unique pillar-like structures that give it defect-free and high flux properties. Overall, the results of this study provide valuable information for PVC and PVDF membrane synthesis for large-scale production.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Created:02/18/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


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