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Arabian Journal of Chemistry
Volume 14 (5), 2021, 103109

Novel stand-alone PVA mixed matrix membranes conjugated with graphene oxide for highly improved reverse osmosis performance

Wail Falatha,b

Center of Research Excellence in Desalination and Water Treatment, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

In this research, an innovative Poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane with exceptional attributes was fabricated. Graphene Oxide (GO) nanosheets and Pluronic F-127 were infused within crosslinked PVA to fabricate thin film mixed matrix membranes. The newly synthesized membranes were evaluated in terms of several parameters like surface roughness, hydrophilicity, salt rejection, water permeability, Chlorine tolerance and anti-biofouling property, utilizing a dead-end RO filtration unit. Typical characterization techniques were used to assess the characteristics of the membranes. These include SEM, AFM, contact angle measurements and mechanical strength analysis. The conjugation of Pluronic F-127 and GO enhanced the overall performance of the membranes. The modified membranes surfaces had less roughness and higher hydrophilicity in comparison with the unmodified ones. This research showed that membranes that contained 0.08 wt% and 0.1 wt% GO exhibited superior selectivity, mechanical strength, Chlorine tolerance and anti-biofouling property. The truly significant outcome to evolve from this investigation is that improvements have been accomplished while PVA was used as a stand-alone RO layer without the use of any substrate. This study showed that crosslinking of PVA and modifying it with proper fillers overcame the common PVA downsides, primarily swelling and rupture under exceptionally high pressure.

Keywords: Poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA), Graphene oxide, RO membranes, Biofouling, Chlorine resistance, Pluronic F-127.

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