Mitigation of membrane fouling by nano/microplastics via surface chemistry control

Marie Enfrin, Jingshi Wang, Andrea Merenda, Ludovic F. Dumée, Judy Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nano/microplastic materials fouling across filtration membranes can impact the performance of filtration systems, which constitutes a critical challenge for water facilities operation. In this study, plasma surface modifications aiming at reducing nano/microplastic materials adsorption on ultrafiltration membranes were investigated. Hydrophilic acrylic acid and cyclopropylamine plasma coatings caused a water flux decline of less than 8% after 6 h of crossflow filtration. Both hydrophilic coatings reduced the percentage of nano/microplastics adsorbed on the membranes by more than 60%. On the contrary, the hydrophobic hexamethyldisiloxane layer had no impact on the cumulative percentage of adsorbed nano/microplastics compared to that of the pristine poly(sulfone) membranes, which culminated at 40%, resulting in a water flux decline of 40% upon filtration for both membranes. The extended Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (XDLVO) theory was then applied to the system particle-membrane, which identified polar forces as the predominant intermolecular interactions contributing to membrane fouling. Tuning the hydrophilicity of the membranes was, therefore, a more efficient strategy to reduce nano/microplastic materials adsorption during filtration than tailoring the surface charge of the membranes, showing potential for complex water matrices remediation.

Original languageBritish English
Article number119379
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume633
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Energy of adhesion
  • Membrane filtration
  • Microplastics
  • Nanoplastics
  • Plasma polymerisation
  • Surface fouling
  • XDLVO theory

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