Fabrication and Characterization of Cellulose/Electrospun PVDF-HFP Membranes for Oil/Water Separation

  • Farah Ejaz Ahmed

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Treatment of oily wastewater generated through industrial activities is an issue of growing importance. Electrsospinning is a versatile technique to produce nanofiber membranes with large surface area, high porosity and uniform pore size distribution, making them attractive for microfiltration. However, PVDF-HFP nanofibers have limited mechanical strength and are also susceptible to fouling by oil droplets due to their inherent hydrophobicity. In this work, electrospun polyvinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene (PVDF-HFP) nanofibers have been modified with cellulose regenerated from ionic liquid solution. Three-dimensional impregnation of cellulose provides greater control over porosity, pore size, wettability as well as mechanical and thermal properties of the electrospun membrane. Formation of smaller pores with narrower pore size distribution is achieved when the fibers are coated with cellulose matrix. At 15 wt% cellulose, mechanical properties of electrospun PVDF-HFP are greatly enhanced as the elastic modulus increases from 17 MPa to 54 MPa and the tensile strength also improves from 5.5 MPa to 8.6 MPa. The resulting membrane exhibits superhydrophilicity and underwater supoeroleophobicity and is successfully applied for selective separation of water from oil with efficiencies up to 99.98%, making it attractive for treatment of oily wastewater.
Date of AwardMay 2014
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorRaed Hashaikeh (Supervisor)


  • Membrane Separation; Electrospinning; Oil–Water Separation; Superoleophobic.

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