Towards integrated anti-microbial capabilities: Novel bio-fouling resistant membranes by high velocity embedment of silver particles

Ludovic F. Dumée, Li He, Peter C. King, Maëlle Le Moing, Isabelle Güller, Mikel Duke, Peter D. Hodgson, Stephen Gray, Andrew J. Poole, Lingxue Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Biofilm formation on membranes during water desalination operation and pre-treatments limits performance and causes premature membrane degradation. Here, we apply a novel surface modification technique to incorporate anti-microbial metal particles into the outer layer of four types of commercial polymeric membranes by cold spray. The particles are anchored on the membrane surface by partial embedment within the polymer matrix. Although clear differences in particle surface loadings and response to the cold spray were shown by SEM, the hybrid micro-filtration and ultra-filtration membranes were found to exhibit excellent anti-bacterial properties. Poly(sulfone) ultra-filtration membranes were used as for cross-flow filtration of Escherichia coli bacteria solutions to investigate the impact of the cold spray on the material[U+05F3]s integrity. The membranes were characterized by SEM-EDS, FT-IR and TGA and challenged in filtration tests. No bacteria passed through the membrane and filtrate water quality was good, indicating the membranes remained intact. No intact bacteria were found on hybrid membranes, loaded with up to 15. wt% silver, indicating the treatment was lysing bacteria on contact. However, permeation of the hybrid membranes was found to be reduced compared to control non-modified poly(sulfone) membranes due to the presence of the particles across the membrane material. The implementation of cold spray technology for the modification of commercial membrane products could lead to significant operational savings in the field of desalination and water pre-treatments.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)552-561
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - 2015


  • Anti-fouling surface
  • Anti-microbial activity
  • Hybrid membranes
  • Particle spray embedment


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