Document Type: Original research
Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran
Membrane Technology Research Center, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran
The aim of the present work is to enhance the antifouling properties of polypropylene (PP) membrane based on hydrophilicity improvement. Different contents of neat and modified nanodiamond (0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.00 wt.%) were embedded into PP membranes. Nanodiamond nanoparticles were carboxylated by heat treatment method and the presence of carboxyl functional groups on the surface of nanoparticles was confirmed by FTIR analysis. Membranes were then characterized by FESEM, contact angle and tensile strength tests. At the same content of nanoparticles, hydrophilicity, pure water flux and tensile strength of PP/ND-COOH membranes were more than those of PP/ND membranes. Membranes embedded with 0.75 wt. % of neat and modified nanoparticles were used in a submerged membrane bioreactor (SMBR) system along with neat PP membrane. The results showed that critical flux values for neat PP, PP/ND and PP/ND-COOH membranes were 7, 18 and 22 L/(m2.h), respectively. Analysis of fouling mechanisms revealed that antifouling properties of 0.75 wt. % PP/ND-COOH membrane were higher than those of other two ones so that irreversible fouling ratio decreased from 88.9% for neat PP to 47.8% for PP/ND-COOH membrane.