Morphological and separation performance study of polysulfone/titanium dioxide (PSF/TiO2) ultrafiltration membranes for humic acid removal

N.A.A. Hamid , A.F. Ismail , T. Matsuura, A.W. Zularisam , W.J. Lau , E. Yuliwati  M.S. Abdullah


In this study, polysulfone (PSF) hollow fiber membranes with enhanced performance for humic acid removal
were prepared from a dope solution containing PSF/DMAc/PVP/TiO2. The main reason for adding titanium
oxide during dope solution preparation was to enhance the antifouling properties of membranes prepared. In the spinning process, air gap distance was varied in order to produce different properties of the hollow fiber membranes. Characterizations were conducted to determine membrane properties such as pure water flux, molecular weight cut off (MWCO), humic acid (HA) rejection and resistance to fouling tendency. The results indicated that the pure water flux and MWCO of membranes increased with an increase in air gap distance while HA retention decreased significantly with increasing air gap. Due to this, it is found that the PSF/TiO2 membrane spun at zero air gap was the best amongst the membranes produced and demonstrated N90% HA rejection. Analytical results from FESEM and AFM also provided supporting evidence to the experimental results obtained. Based on the anti-fouling performance investigation, it was found that membranes with the addition of TiO2 were excellent in mitigating fouling particularly in reducing the fouling resistances due to concentration polarization, cake layer formation and absorption.

key word : Polysulfone, Hollow fiber, Titanium dioxide, Humic acid, Effect of air gap

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