Functionalization of flat sheet and hollow fiber microfiltration membranes for water applications

Sebastián Hernández, Shi Lei, Wang Rong, Lindell Ormsbee, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Functionalized membranes containing nanoparticles provide a novel platform for organic pollutant degradation reactions and for selective removal of contaminants without the drawback of potential nanoparticle loss to the environment. These eco-friendly and sustainable technology approaches allow various water treatment applications by enhanced water transport through the membrane pores. This paper presents "green" techniques to create nanocomposite materials based on sponge-like membranes for water remediation applications involving chlorinated organic compounds. First, hydrophobic hollow fiber microfiltration membranes (HF) of polyvinylidene fluoride were hydrophilized using a water-based green chemistry process with polyvinylpyrrolidone and persulfate. HF and flat sheet membrane pores were then functionalized with poly(acrylic acid) and synthesized Fe/Pd nanoparticles. Surface modifications were determined by contact angle, surface free energy and infrared spectroscopy. The synthesized nanoparticles were characterized by electronic microscopy, X-ray spectrometry and image analysis. Nanoparticle mean sizes obtained were 203 ± 10 and 300 ± 11 nm for each of the membranes. Depending on the concentration of the dopant (Pd) in the membrane, catalytic activity (established by trichloroethylene (TCE) reduction), was enhanced up to 10-fold compared to other reported results. Chloride produced in reduction was close to the stoichiometric 3/1 (Cl-/TCE), indicating complete absence of reaction intermediates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-918
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanoparticles
  • Sponge-like membranes
  • Surface modification
  • TCE dechlorination

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