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revised on 12.10.2020 and posted on 13.10.2020by Muayad al-Shaeli, Hanaa M. Hegab, Xiya Fang, Lizhong He, Chang Liu, Huanting Wang, Kaisong Zhang, Bradley P. Ladewig
The trade-off phenomenon between selectivity and permeation flux is a major challenge
in pressure-driven membranes, and specifically for ultrafiltration membranes. Currently, many
research studies have been performed to try to increase permeability while maintaining the
rejection at a high level. However, in most of these studies, the improvement of permeability
was accompanied by a decrease in rejection or vice versa. To tackle this problem, TiO2
nanoparticles were attached on the surface of PES membranes using polydopamine as adhesive
agent. In general, it is quite challenging to attach/bind TiO2 on the surface of membranes due
to agglomeration of nanoparticles. Therefore, we developed a practical, simple and a scalable
method to attach TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) on the top surface of membrane using one-step dip
coating. Experimental results revealed that the modified layer enhanced the hydrophilicity of
the PES UF membranes as confirmed by the decrease of contact angle from. As a result, the
modified membranes exhibited a significant improvement in anti-fouling properties, with 12
times higher water permeation flux (962 LMH for pDA-f-TiO2-PES30) as compared to the
pristine PES membranes (79.9 LMH). The static adsorption of BSA on the surface of
membranes was reduced from (60 µg/cm2 for pristine PES to 21 µg/cm2 for pDA-f-TiO2-
Furthermore, the modified PES membranes displayed a higher flux recovery ratio (97%) and
fouling reversibility (98.62%) than pristine PES membrane (37.63%). Also, the coated PES
membranes bestowed a good antibacterial property relative to the pristine one. Besides, the
membranes showed better physical and chemical stability as compared with unmodified PES
membranes. Thus, this study provided a facile approach for enhancing the anti-fouling
performance of PES ultrafiltration membranes.