Fabrication and anti-biofouling properties of alumina and zeolite nanoparticle embedded ultrafiltration membranes

Lei xi Dong, Hong wei Yang, Shi ting Liu, Xiao mao Wang, Yuefeng F. Xie

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Nanoparticle embedded polysulfone ultrafiltration (UF) membranes were prepared by using the in situ embedment method, and the anti-biofouling properties of the prepared membranes were evaluated by conducting bacteria adhesion test, bacterium inactivation test and biofilm formation test separately. Among the several aluminum and/or silicon oxide nanoparticles tested, alumina (Al2O3) and Linda type L (LTL) zeolite nanoparticles were successfully embedded which could be evenly dispersed on membrane surface with high coverage ratio (38% and 49%, respectively) and were resistant to hydraulic shear detachment. The water contact angles for the nanoparticle embedded membranes (UF-Al2O3 and UF-LTL) and the control membrane (UF-C) were 57°, 40° and 66°, respectively. Owing to the higher surface hydrophilicity, both UF-Al2O3 and UF-LTL demonstrated a higher filterability than UF-C. Biofouling was inhibited on both UF-Al2O3 and UF-LTL, indicated by the lower Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation rate. Further investigation showed that both UF-Al2O3 and UF-LTL exhibited a high anti-adhesion efficiency to both Escherichia coli and P. aeruginosa, but no bacteriocidal effect on E. coli. The anti-biofouling ability of UF-Al2O3 and UF-LTL mainly benefited from the anti-adhesion ability attributed to the embedded nanoparticles. The improved anti-adhesion ability could not be simply explained by the enhanced hydrophilicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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