Biofouling in reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is a severe problem, causing a decrease in both permeate flux and salt rejection and increasing transmembrane pressure. Capsaicin extract inhibits bacterial growth and is therefore used in this study to prepare a thin-film composite membrane and membrane support. Four types of nanofiltration (NF) membranes were prepared by interfacial polymerization onto a porous support prepared by the phase inversion method. Membrane A was the control membrane with no capsaicin extract, membrane B contains capsaicin in the polyamide thin film, membrane C contains capsaicin in the porous support, and membrane D contains capsaicin in both the thin film and support layers. Three different salts (Na2SO4, MgSO4, and NaCl) were used at different concentrations (1000, 3000, and 5000 ppm) to test the performance of the membranes in terms of salt rejection and permeate flux. Membrane B showed the highest rejection for all the salts and concentrations tested. For 5000 ppm NaCl, the permeate flux for membrane B was 14.81% higher, and salt rejection was 19.6% higher than membrane A. Future work will evaluate the anti-biofouling properties of the membranes prepared with capsaicin, when exposed to seawater microorganisms.
Part of the book: Desalination and Water Treatment