One-pot synthesis of catalytic molybdenum based nanocomposite nano-fiber membranes for aerosol air remediation

Riyadh Al-Attabi, Yosry Morsi, Jürg A. Schütz, Ludovic F. Dumée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The development of fibrous air filters exhibiting high air filtration efficiency, low energy consumption, and self-cleaning properties is a critical challenge to generate the next generation of resilient air filtration systems. Nano-fibrous mats typically exhibit higher particle capture efficiency but may also lead to higher airflow resistance compared to macro-fibrous materials due to their tighter structure. In this paper, novel catalytic membranes mats were fabricated through a one-pot synthesis from ammonium tetrathiomolybdate (ATTM) doped poly(acrylonitrile) (PAN) nanofibers for sub-micron diameter aerosol particle removal. The presence of ATTM as a dopant in conjunction with a PAN polymeric matrix was found to not only enhance the air filtration performance by increasing aerosol particle removal down to 300 nm, but also increase the photocatalytic properties of the PAN material. The enhanced separation properties compared to bare polymeric PAN nanofibrous membranes were attributed to surface nanotexturation of the fibers, leading to protrusions and pores across the nano-fiber structures, thus leading to more permeable and lightweight membranes with higher particle capture capacities. The samples were benchmarked against commercial glass fiber air filters and found to offer higher filtration efficiency, lower pressure drop, and higher quality factor than the commercial filters. Specifically, the quality factors of the catalytic nano-fiber membranes were found to be up to four times higher than that of the benchmarked commercial air filters for PM2.5 particles, while two times higher for 300 nm sized contaminants. The presence of the ATTM across the PAN matrix was also found to enhance the photocatalytic activity of the membranes by up to 130% compared to the bare PAN reference nanofibers. This novel strategy opens avenues to engineering advanced multifunctional catalytic membranes, to capture toxic particulate matter from air while offering self-cleaning properties when exposed to sunlight.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)725-733
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2019


  • Air filtration
  • Electrospinning
  • Nano-composite nanofibers
  • Photocatalytic membranes
  • Self-cleaning membranes


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