Thermo-responsive copolymers with ionic group as novel draw solutes for forward osmosis processes

Jin joo Kim, Jae Seung Chung, Hyo Kang, Yun Ah Yu, Won Jae Choi, Hee Joong Kim, Jong Chan Lee

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33 Scopus citations


Thermo-responsive copolymers containing ionic groups (P(MTxEOy), where x and y are the feed molar percent of [2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl]trimethylammonium chloride (MTAC) and 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl methacrylate (MEO), respectively) were synthesized via free radical polymerization using MTAC and MEO as monomers, in order to use the copolymers as a draw solute in a forward osmosis (FO) system. The osmotic pressure and lower critical solution temperature (LCST) could be controlled by changing the composition of the copolymers. For example, P(MT25EO75) shows a relatively high osmotic pressure of 0.909 Osmol/kg at 0.2 g/mL, and P(MT5EO95) shows a LCST close to room temperature at 32 °C. When P(MT20EO80) was used as a draw solute in the FO system, a reasonable water permeation flux value of 5.45 Lm−2h−1 at 0.1 g/mL was observed and the draw solute (P(MT20EO80)) could be recovered with a very large draw solute recovery value of 99.80% from the draw solutions by heating to 70 °C, above the LCST, followed by a microfiltration process. Therefore, it is expected that such copolymer system could be a prospective candidate as a draw solute in the FO system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalMacromolecular Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, The Polymer Society of Korea and Springer Sciene+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • LCST polymers
  • draw solution
  • forward osmosis
  • ionic polymers


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