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Synthesis Of Highly Conductive Cotton Fiber/nanostructured Silver/polyaniline Composite Membranes For Water Sterilization Application

Nedal Abu-Thabit, R. Basheer
Published 2014 · Materials Science

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Electrically conductive composite membranes (ECCMs) composed of cotton fibers, conductive polyaniline and silver nanostructures were prepared and utilized as electrifying filter membranes for water sterilization. Silver metal and polyaniline were formed in situ during the oxidative polymerization of aniline monomers in the presence of silver nitrate as weak oxidizing agent. The reaction was characterized by long induction period and the morphology of the obtained ECCMs contained silver nanoparticles and silver flakes of 500–1000 nm size giving a membrane electrical resistance in the range of 10–30 Ohm sq−1. However, when dimethylformamide (DMF) was employed as an auxiliary reducing agent to trigger and speed up the polymerization reaction, silver nanostructures such as wires, ribbons, plates were formed and were found to be embedded between polyaniline coating and cotton fibers. These ECCMs exhibited a slightly lower resistance in the range of 2–10 Ohm sq.−1 and, therefore, were utilized for the fabrication of a bacteria inactivation device. When water samples containing 107–108 CFU mL−1 E. coli bacteria were passed through the prepared ECCMs by gravity force, with a filtration rate of 0.8 L h−1 and at an electric potential of 20 V, the fabricated device showed 92% bacterial inactivation efficiency. When the treated solution was passed through the membrane for a second time under the same conditions, no E. coli bacteria was detected.
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