Zwitterion-Grafted 2D MXene (Ti3C2TX) Nanocomposite Membranes with Improved Water Permeability and Self-Cleaning Properties

Parashuram Kallem, Nadeen Elashwah, G. Bharath, Hanaa M. Hegab, Shadi W. Hasan, Fawzi Banat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The development of chemically and mechanically stable nanocomposite membranes with high permeability and self-cleaning properties is important for various wastewater treatment applications. Two-dimensional MXene (Ti3C2Tx) nanomaterials have attracted increasing research interest in various applications, including membrane-based separation technologies for wastewater treatment. Zwitterion functionalization has been widely used for the surface modification of hydrophilic materials to improve the anti-fouling capability. In this research, an MXene nanocomposite functionalized with a zwitterion was prepared and used as a nanofiller for the development of highly permeable membranes with self-cleaning properties. The composite membrane was prepared by incorporating a zwitterion-grafted MXene (Z-MXene) nanocomposite into polyethersulfone (PES) via a non-solvent-induced phase separation process. The incorporation of Z-MXene nanocomposite particles into PES improved the porosity, mean pore radius, hydrophilicity, and tensile strength of the hybrid membranes. The flux of the developed PES/Z-MXene membrane was nearly 3.1 times higher than that of the pristine PES membrane. The rejection rates of three representative species of natural organic matter in raw water (bovine serum albumin, humic acid, and sodium alginate) were more than 93%. The abundant functional groups and negative charge on the Z-MXene surface also improved dye separation (∼275 and ∼400% enhancement for Congo red and methylene blue dyes, respectively) while maintaining a high water flux. Furthermore, the PES/Z-MXene membrane exhibited the best flux recovery ratio, best reversible fouling ratio, and low irreversible fouling ratio, indicating its self-cleaning properties. In addition, the composite membrane has significant chemical stability, as demonstrated by its high corrosion resistance during long-term treatment with 2 M HCl and oxidant (NaOCl) solutions. This study provides a MXene nanocomposite for the development of high-performance composite membranes with self-cleaning properties.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)607-621
Number of pages15
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Jan 2023


  • corrosion resistance
  • high permeability
  • hydrophilicity
  • self-cleaning
  • two-dimensional MXene
  • zwitterion-grafted MXene nanocomposites


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