Hydophilic polypropylene microporous membrane for using in a membrane bioreactor system and optimization of preparation conditions by response surface methodology

Document Type: Original research

Authors

1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran

2 Environmental Engineering Research Center, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran

3 Young Researchers and Elites Club, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

In this study, the response surface methodology (RSM) based on the central composite design (CCD) was used to optimize the preparation condition of polypropylene-grafted maleic anhydride (PP-g-MA) microporous membrane by thermally-induced phase separation (TIPS) method. A mixture of dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and dioctyl phthalate (DOP) was used as diluent. The effect of polymer composition and quenching bath temperature on the morphology and performance of the fabricated microporous membranes was investigated by using RSM. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine which variables and interactions between variables had a significant effect on our responses. The ANOVA revealed that the bath temperature was the most significant variable associated with porosity and pure water flux responses and the polymer concentration was the most significant variable associated with tensile response. The obtained results also showed that with increasing the polymer concentration and decreasing the quenching bath temperature, the membrane porosity and pure water flux decreased, whereas the membrane tensile increased. The regression equations were reasonably validated and used to predict and optimize the performance of PP-g-MA membranes within the limits of the variables. Finally, the maximum responses (flux of 115.6 L/m2h, porosity of 62% and tensile of 1.6 MPa) were obtained under the following conditions: polymer concentration of 28.5 wt% and temperature of 329 K. Further, comparison of laboratory-made and commercial membranes in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system showed that the rate of membrane fouling was decreased by 4.2 times.

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