N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAM) modified cellulose acetate ultrafiltration membranes

Colleen Gorey, Isabel C. Escobar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A potentially low fouling membrane was developed by attaching a stimuli-responsive polymer layer on the surface, which offered the potential to collapse or expand the polymer layer with change in temperature. The phase change arose from the existence of a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) such that the polymer precipitated from solution as the temperature was increased. This capability was exploited to control adsorption/desorption on a cellulose acetate membrane. A temperature decrease caused the layer to expand into a rough hydrophilic state while a temperature increase caused a collapse into a smooth hydrophobic state. By cycling the temperature of the modified membrane above and below the LCST, a dynamic surface was created with the potential to reduced fouling.I n this study, N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAM) was used as the temperature-responsive polymer; it has an LCST of 32. °C, and was grafted to a cellulose acetate ultrafiltration membrane surface using cerium ammonium nitrate as an initiator. While surface activation was observed at the nano-scale level, no improvements in fouling control were observed during operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The sources of funding were NSF CBET 0610624 and NSF GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellows in STEM High School Education: An Environmental Science Learning Community at the Land-Lake Ecosystem Interface, DGE-0742395. The authors would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Drs. Glenn Lipscomb (for initial development), Maria Coleman and Cyndee Gruden. Special thanks also go to Martin Geithmann.


  • Cellulose acetate
  • N-isopropylacrylamide
  • Ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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