Effects of functional groups of polyfluoroalkyl substances on their removal by nanofiltration

By Takahiro Fujioka, Haruka Takeuchi, Hironobu Tahara, Hiroto Murakami, and Sandrine Boivin
Water Research X
July 3, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.wroa.2024.100233

Determining the reliability of nanofiltration (NF) membranes for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern, including polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), pharmaceuticals, and personal care products (PPCPs), is important for ensuring drinking water safety. This study aimed to clarify the factors that influence the removal of nine major PFASs during submerged NF treatment via extrapolation based on the factors that influence PPCP removal. The rejection of nine PFASs in ultra-filtered dam water by a polypiperazine-amide (NF270) membrane increased from 71% to 94% at a low permeate flux of 5 L/m2 h as the PFAS molecular dimensions increased. PFASs with a carboxylic acid (-CO2H) were rejected to a greater extent than PFASs with a sulfo group (-SO3H). Further, negatively charged PFASs or PPCPs were rejected to a greater extent than uncharged and positively charged PPCPs. Our findings suggest that the rejection of PFASs can vary because of the (i) clearance distance between the PFASs’ molecular dimensions and NF membrane pore diameter and (ii) intensity of electrostatic repulsion between the PFASs’ functional groups and NF membrane surface. Our study indicates that submerged NF can achieve high PFAS rejection; however, variation in rejection among PFASs can become more prominent owing to a low permeate flux.


View on ScienceDirect