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Noncovalently Functionalized Sulfated Castor Oil–Graphene Oxide-Strengthened Polyetherimide Composite Membranes for Superior Separation of Organic Pollutants and Their Fouling Mitigation

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journal contribution
posted on 06.08.2020, 11:46 by Palsamy Kanagaraj, Wei Huang, Changkun Liu
A novel sulfated castor oil (SCO)–graphene oxide (GO)-strengthened polyetherimide (PEI) membrane was prepared for the first time via phase inversion process for the efficient separation of multiple organic pollutants with superior long-term antifouling stability. X-ray diffraction, attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transfer infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and mechanical strength studies revealed that the SCO and GO were successfully incorporated into the PEI membrane with enhanced mechanical strength. The water flux of the PEI/SCO@GO membrane (410.6 L m–2 h–1) was about 50 times that of bare PEI (7.8 L m–2 h–1) and about 6 times that of PEI/SCO (64.5 L m–2 h–1) membranes. The surface hydrophilicity of the PEI/SCO@GO membrane was significantly increased in terms of the decrease of the water contact angle from 98.5° (bare PEI) to 40.4°. The PEI/SCO@GO membrane separation efficiency was found to be greater than 99.0%, particularly for both the oil-in-water emulsion and the humic acid solution, respectively. Because of the higher flux recovery ratio and the lower total fouling rate of the PEI/SCO@GO membrane, a comprehensive antifouling performance was observed during the long-term foulant filtration cycle analyses. Hence, the incorporation of both SCO and GO into the PEI matrix would render the highly hydrophobic PEI material as the suitable and desirable antifouling membrane toward the treatment of various organic foulants in wastewater.