Improved permeability and antifouling performance of polyethersulfone ultrafiltration membranes tailored by hydroxyapatite/boron nitride nanocomposites

Parashuram Kallem, G. Bharath, K. Rambabu, C. Srinivasakannan, Fawzi Banat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

To extend the use of polyethersulfone (PES) ultrafiltration membranes in water process engineering, the membrane's wettability and anti-fouling properties should be further improved. In this context, hydroxyapatite/boron nitride (HAp/BN) nanocomposites have been prepared and intercalated into PES membranes using a non-solvent-induced phase separation process. High-quality 2D transparent boron nitride nanosheets (BN NSs) were prepared using an environmentally friendly and green-template assisted synthesis method in which 1D hexagonal hydroxyapatite nanosheets (HAp NRs) were uniformly distributed and hydrothermally immobilized at 180 °C. SEM, XRD, and Raman spectroscopy techniques were used to characterize the HAp/BN nanocomposites. PES membranes intercalated with various nanocomposite amounts (0–4 wt %) were also characterized by permeability, porosity, and contact angle measurements. Additional pathways for water molecule transport were promoted by the high surface area of the BN NSs, resulting in high permeability. Membrane wettability and antifouling properties were also improved by the inclusion of negative charge groups (OH and PO43−) on HAp. Hybrid membranes containing 4 wt% HAp/BN showed the best overall performance with ∼97% increase in water flux, 90% rejection of bovine serum albumin (BSA), high water flux recovery ratio, low irreversible fouling, and high reversible fouling pattern. The intercalation of HAp/BN with the PES matrix therefore opens up a new direction to enhance the PES UF membranes’ hydrophilicity, water flux, and antifouling capacity.

Original languageBritish English
Article number129306
JournalChemosphere
Volume268
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Antifouling
  • Boron nitride
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Nanocomposites
  • Polyethersulfone
  • Ultrafiltration

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