Physical–chemical properties, separation performance, and fouling resistance of mixed-matrix ultrafiltration membranes

Eric M.V. Hoek, Asim K. Ghosh, Xiaofei Huang, Monty Liong, Jeffrey I. Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Herein we report on the formation and characterization of mixed-matrix ultrafiltration (UF) membranes hand-cast by nonsolvent induced phase inversion. We evaluated nanometer-to-micrometer sized inorganic fillers (silver, copper, silica, zeolite, and silver-zeolite) materials with polysulfone (PSf) as the polymeric dispersing matrix. In general, mixed-matrix membranes were rougher, more hydrophilic, and more mechanically robust. Only sub-micron zeolite-PSf mixed-matrix membranes exhibited simultaneous improvements in water permeability and solute selectivity; all other mixed-matrix membranes were more permeable, but less selective due to defects associated with poor polymer-filler binding. Protein and bacterial fouling resistance of mixed-matrix membranes containing silver, zeolite, and silver-zeolite nanoparticles were compared to a low-fouling, poly(acrylonitrile) (PAN) UF membrane. Zeolite and silver containing membranes exhibited better protein fouling resistance (due to higher hydrophilicity), whereas silver and silver-zeolite based membranes produce better bacterial fouling resistance due to antimicrobial properties. Overall, zeolite-PSf and silver exchanged zeolite-PSf membranes offered the best combination of improved permeability, selectivity, and fouling resistance - superior to the commercial PAN membrane. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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