Background: The membrane processes are interesting and economical techniques for reuse of municipal and industrial wastewater as well as seawater desalination. However their drawbacks can be resumed in the fouling and biofouling due to the deposition and adsorption phenomenon of the components and the development of biofilm on membrane surface. Several studies have focused on the effect of the incorporation of nanoparticles in polymeric membrane matrix on the biofouling properties. Few relevant patents to the topic have been reviewed and cited.
Methods: Polyethersulfone (PES) membranes filled with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were prepared by non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) process using polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as additive and N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) as solvent. Dope solution compositions, coagulation bath (CB) compositions, time before immersion in CB and casting speed were systematically studied. Membrane structure was characterized by scanning electron microscopy, contact angle, streaming potential measurement and X-ray diffraction (XRD).
Results: Membrane performance was assessed by pure water permeability, antifouling property, porosity and mechanical property. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were prepared by the chemical reduction of silver nitrate solution with freshly prepared fructose solution, using PVP as capping agent and NaOH as accelerant and settled using acetone. The synthesized AgNPs were firstly characterized by Dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique, UV-visible spectrophotometer and X-ray diffraction spectroscopy (XRD). Then, we have selected a 15% PES mixed with 15% of PVP dope solution to prepare PESAgNPs blended membranes.
Conclusion: All the nanocomposite membranes showed superb antibacterial and anti-biofouling performances, indicating that AgNPs in the PES membranes could be an effective approach to minimize membrane biofouling.