A Novel Fabrication Approach for Multifunctional Graphene-based Thin Film Nano-composite Membranes with Enhanced Desalination and Antibacterial Characteristics

Hanaa M. Hegab, Ahmed Elmekawy, Thomas G. Barclay, Andrew Michelmore, Linda Zou, Dusan Losic, Christopher P. Saint, Milena Ginic-Markovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

A practical fabrication technique is presented to tackle the trade-off between the water flux and salt rejection of thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membranes through controlled creation of a thinner active selective polyamide (PA) layer. The new thin film nano-composite (TFNC) RO membranes were synthesized with multifunctional poly tannic acid-functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets (pTA-f-GO) embedded in its PA thin active layer, which is produced through interfacial polymerization. The incorporation of pTA-f-GOL into the fabricated TFNC membranes resulted in a thinner PA layer with lower roughness and higher hydrophilicity compared to pristine membrane. These properties enhanced both the membrane water flux (improved by 40%) and salt rejection (increased by 8%) of the TFNC membrane. Furthermore, the incorporation of biocidal pTA-f-GO nanosheets into the PA active layer contributed to improving the antibacterial properties by 80%, compared to pristine membrane. The fabrication of the pTA-f-GO nanosheets embedded in the PA layer presented in this study is a very practical, scalable and generic process that can potentially be applied in different types of separation membranes resulting in less energy consumption, increased cost-efficiency and improved performance.

Original languageBritish English
Article number7490
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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