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Organic Fouling Behavior Of Superhydrophilic Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) Ultrafiltration Membranes Functionalized With Surface-tailored Nanoparticles: Implications For Organic Fouling In Membrane Bioreactors

S. Liang, Genggeng Qi, K. Xiao, Jianyu Sun, E. Giannelis, X. Huang, M. Elimelech
Published 2014 · Chemistry

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Abstract This study systematically investigates the organic fouling behavior of a superhydrophilic polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) ultrafiltration membrane functionalized via post-fabrication tethering of surface-tailored silica nanoparticles to poly(methacrylic acid)-grafted PVDF membrane surface. Sodium alginate (SA), Suwannee River natural organic matter (SRNOM), and bovine serum albumin (BSA) were used as model organic foulants to investigate the antifouling behavior of the superhydrophilic membrane with combined-fouling (mixture of foulants) and individual-fouling (single foulant) tests. A membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant supernatant was also used to verify the organic antifouling property of the superhydrophilic membrane under realistic conditions. Foulant size distributions and foulant–membrane interfacial forces were measured to interpret the observed membrane fouling behavior. Molecular weight cutoff measurements confirmed that membrane functionalization did not adversely affect the intrinsic membrane selectivity. Both filtration tests with the synthetic foulant-mixture solution (containing SA, SRNOM, and BSA) and MBR plant supernatant demonstrated the reliability and durability of the antifouling property of the superhydrophilic membrane. The conspicuous reduction in foulant–membrane interfacial forces for the functionalized membrane further verified the antifouling properties of the superhydrophilic membrane, suggesting great potential for applications in wastewater treatment.
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