Pulsed hydraulic-pressure-responsive self-cleaning membrane
Pressure-driven membranes is a widely used separation technology in a range of industries, such as water purification, bioprocessing, food processing and chemical production1,2. Despite their numerous advantages, such as modular design and minimal footprint, inevitable membrane fouling is the key challenge in most practical applications3. Fouling limits membrane performance by reducing permeate flux or increasing pressure requirements, which results in higher energetic operation and maintenance costs4–7. Here we report a hydraulic-pressure-responsive membrane (PiezoMem) to transform pressure pulses into electroactive responses for in situ self-cleaning. A transient hydraulic pressure fluctuation across the membrane results in generation of current pulses and rapid voltage oscillations (peak, +5.0/−3.2 V) capable of foulant degradation and repulsion without the need for supplementary chemical cleaning agents, secondary waste disposal or further external stimuli3,8–13. PiezoMem showed broad-spectrum antifouling action towards a range of membrane foulants, including organic molecules, oil droplets, proteins, bacteria and inorganic colloids, through reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and dielectrophoretic repulsion. The PiezoMem membrane responsive to hydraulic pressure is introduced, showing the ability to convert pressure pulses into electroactive responses for in situ self-cleaning and enabling broad-spectrum antifouling action towards a range of membrane foulants.