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Performance of Graphene Oxide-Titanium Dioxide/Polyethersulphone Membranes for Industrial Wastewater Treatment
 
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1
Polymer and Petrochemical Industries Engineering Department, College of Engineering Materials, University of Babylon, Hilla, Iraq
 
2
Materials Engineering Department, University of Technology, Baghdad, Iraq
 
 
Corresponding author
Zahraa Salah Jassim   

Polymer and Petrochemical Industries Engineering Department, College of Engineering Materials, University of Babylon, Hilla, Iraq
 
 
Ecol. Eng. Environ. Technol. 2024; 9
 
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ABSTRACT
The use of hydrophilic polymer membranes derived from nanocomposites for the treatment of industrial wastewaters has garnered significant attention lately. When producing membranes, the fouling problems of these membranes may be lessened by adding hydrophilic additives to the polymer solution. In order to create the membranes by the phase inversion approach, 0.8 weight percent of polyethersulfone (PES) solution was mixed with a combination (1:1) of graphene oxide:titanium dioxide nanoparticles (GO:TiO2 NPs) at various weight percentages (0.2, 0.4, 0.6, and 0). The absence of spectral peaks at 899 and 1669 cm-1 in the completed membranes, as determined by FTIR studies, suggests that the GO:TiO2 NPs component's hydrolytic breakdown caused the membrane structure's pores to develop. The membrane topology was rough with a wider range of heights and abnormalities at low NP concentrations, as the histogram of the 3D AFM pictures illustrates. On the other hand, the 2D photos showed that the surface smoothed out and had fewer peaks and valleys at high NP concentrations, which decreased the surface's roughness. Surface scanning electron microscopy pictures demonstrated that when the membrane's structure evolved from narrow to broad porosity with uneven expansion of porous patches, adding more nanoparticles increased the water flow. However, cross-sectional SEM pictures showed that the membrane's constituent parts were a thick porous layer with micropores and elongated finger structures that resembled pores, and a thin skin layer. The membrane's porosity increased with increasing NP concentration, as demonstrated by porosity calculations and contact angle measurements. This improved selectivity, made the membrane less prone to fouling, and made cleaning safer and easier, particularly for hydrophilic foulants like proteins and polysaccharides. The addition of NPs resulted in an estimated 83% and 92% increase in the flow of pure water and bovine serum albumin (BSA), respectively. However, the BSA rejection initially dropped before increasing once again.
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