In digital printing, a high salt content in dye solutions is detrimental, which calls for effective strategy for dye/salt fractionation. In this study, a loose nanofiltration (NF) membrane Sepro 2A was employed to desalinate diverse dye species (2 reactive dyes and 4 cationic dyes). This membrane, with a molecular weight cutoff of 490 Da, showed consistently high rejections to all the reactive and cationic dyes (>97.7%). Operational conditions such as dye concentrations and applied pressures have limited effects on the rejection of the membrane. An integrated NF-diafiltration process, involving a pre-concentration and a diafiltration step, was specifically designed for the fractionation of dye/NaCl mixtures. This loose NF membrane showed >99.7% rejection to reactive dyes (reactive blue 2 and reactive orange 16) and ca. 99.3% salt removal with ca. 2.0% dye loss after 5.0 diavolumes. However, the NF membrane experienced a 15.9% loss to methylene blue due to the lower rejection to this model cationic dye (97.2%). The current study provides important insights into dye/salt fractionation by loose NF membranes for digital ink-jet printing.
- Digital printing
- Dye/salt mixture
- Loose nanofiltration membrane