Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)-α-zirconium phosphate (α-ZrP) nanoparticles based mixed matrix membranes for removal of heavy metal ions

Elham Abdulkarem, Yazan Ibrahim, Mahendra Kumar, Hassan A. Arafat, Vincenzo Naddeo, Fawzi Banat, Shadi W. Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The removal of heavy metal ions from industrial wastewater is essential as they pose serious threats to human health and the environment. In this study, novel poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)-alpha-zirconium phosphate (PVDF-α-ZrP) mixed matrix membranes (MMM) were prepared via the phase inversion method. Membranes with different α-ZrP nanoparticles (NPs) loadings (0.25, 0.50, 0.75, or 1.00 wt%) were fabricated. The impacts of α-ZrP NP loading on the membrane's morphology, functionality, surface charge, and hydrophilicity were evaluated. Fourier-transform infrared and the energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were performed to verify the presence of α-ZrP NPs in the fabricated membranes. The PVDF membranes became more hydrophilic after incorporating the α-ZrP NPs. The thermal and mechanical stability and porosity of the PVDF-α-ZrP MMM were higher than those of the pristine PVDF membrane. The increased hydrophilicity, pore size and porosity and reduced surface roughness of the PVDF-α-ZrP membrane led to significant flux increase and reduced fouling propensity. The PVDF-α-ZrP membrane containing 1.00 wt% α-ZrP was capable of removing 42.8% (Cd2+), 93.1% (Cu2+), 44.4% (Ni2+), 91.2% (Pb2+), and 44.2% (Zn2+) from an aqueous solution at neutral pH during filtration.

Original languageBritish English
Article number128896
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Heavy metal removal
  • Industrial wastewater
  • Mixed matrix membranes
  • PVDF
  • α-ZrP nanoparticles


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