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Fouling Resistant Sericin‐coated Polymeric Microfiltration Membrane

V. K. Verma, Senthilmurugan Subbiah
Published 2019 · Chemistry

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BACKGROUND: Greywater and produced water are undoubtedly valuable resources for reclaimed water, which can lessen the burden on use of freshwater. However, most often the membrane technology used for treatment of greywater and produced water suffers massively from fouling‐related issues. In the present study, a novel and facile method is successfully developed for modification of polypropylene (PP) microfiltration (MF) membrane via surface coating with sericin for imparting better antifouling properties. RESULT: The membrane hydrophilicity significantly improved after sericin coating and exhibited high water content (64.87%) and low water contact angle (38°). In a comparative study with synthetic greywater, the sericin‐coated membrane removed <90% turbidity and produced a greater volume of purified water with 15% less fouling compared to the uncoated membrane. The fouling experiment concludes that the sericin‐coated membrane can reduce reversible and irreversible fouling by ≈30% and ≈83.00%, respectively, relative to the uncoated membrane using pure water backwash operation. In the second case, the sericin‐coated membrane was able to provide consistent permeate quality with produced water: chemical oxygen demand <43 ppm, biological oxygen demand <6.8 ppm, suspended solids completely removed, total dissolved solids <112 ppm, turbidity <5 NTU and oil content <0.044 ppm, together with 10.5% less fouling than uncoated membrane. CONCLUSION: This study reveals that sericin coating enhanced membrane hydrophilicity and hence exhibited better antifouling properties. The sericin‐coated MF membrane effectively treated greywater as well as produced water with less fouling and within limits of national standards for reusability. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry
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