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Effect of membrane hydrophilization on ultrafiltration performance for biomolecules separation

Materials Science and Engineering C
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2012.04.036
  • Hydrophilization
  • Low Fouling Membranes
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Fouling
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


Abstract This paper compares the performance of different hydrophilization methods to prepare low fouling ultrafiltration (UF) membranes. The methods include post-modification with hydrophilic polymer and blending of hydrophilic agent during either conventional or reactive phase separation (PS). The post-modification was done by photograft copolymerization of water-soluble monomer, poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA), onto a commercial polyethersulfone (PES) UF membrane. Hydrophilization via blend polymer membrane with hydrophilic additive was performed using non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS). In reactive PS method, the cast membrane was UV-irradiated before coagulation. The resulting membrane characteristic, the performance and hydrophilization stability were systematically compared. The investigated membrane characteristics include surface hydrophilicity (by contact angle /CA/), surface chemistry (by FTIR spectroscopy), and surface morphology (by scanning electron microscopy). The membrane performance was examined by investigation of adsorptive fouling and ultrafiltration using solution of protein or polysaccharide or humic acid. The results suggest that all methods could increase the hydrophilicity of the membrane yielding less fouling. Post-modification decreased CA from 44.8±4.2o to 37.8±4.2o to 42.5±4.3o depending on the degree of grafting (DG). The hydrophilization via polymer blend decreased CA from from 65o to 54o for PEG concentration of 5%. Nevertheless, decreasing hydraulic permeability was observed after post-modification as well as during polymer blend modification. Stability examination showed that there was leaching out of modifier agent from the membrane matrix prepared via conventional PS after 10days soaking in both water and NaOH. Reactive PS could increase the stability of the modifier agent in membrane matrix.

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