Recovery of small dye molecules from aqueous solutions using charged ultrafiltration membranes

Xiuwen Chen, Yiru Zhao, Jennifer Moutinho, Jiahui Shao, Andrew L. Zydney, Yiliang He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Recovery of reactive dyes from effluent streams is a growing environmental challenge. In this study, various charged regenerated cellulose (RC) ultrafiltration (UF) membranes were prepared and tested for removal of three model reactive dyes (reactive red ED-2B, reactive brilliant yellow K-6G, and reactive brilliant blue KN-R). Data were obtained with charged UF membranes having different spacer arm lengths between the base cellulose and the charge functionality. The effects of charge density of the dye molecules, ionic strength of the feed solution, spacer arm length of charged membranes and filtrate flux were studied. Results indicated that dye retention was greatest with the most negatively charged dye molecule. Higher rejection was also observed in low ionic strength solutions. Results were consistent with model calculations based on the partitioning of a charged sphere into a charged cylindrical pore. The membranes with longer spacer arm length had higher rejection coefficients, consistent with the greater negative charge on these membranes. This study confirms that charged UF membranes can effectively recover small reactive dye molecules at low pressures (below 100. kPa) under appropriate solution conditions due to the strong electrostatic repulsion from the membrane pores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Mar 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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