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Photothermally Active Reduced Graphene Oxide/Bacterial Nanocellulose Composites as Biofouling-Resistant Ultrafiltration Membranes

Jiang, Qisheng, Ghim, Deoukchen, Cao, Sisi, Tadepalli, Sirimuvva, Liu, Keng-Ku, Kwon, Hyuna, Luan, Jingyi, Min, Yujia, Jun, Young-Shin, Singamaneni, Srikanth
Environmental science & technology 2018 v.53 no.1 pp. 412-421
agitation, antibacterial properties, biofouling, cellulose, energy, graphene oxide, lighting, operating costs, pH, sonication, ultrafiltration, water purification
Biofouling poses one of the most serious challenges to membrane technologies by severely decreasing water flux and driving up operational costs. Here, we introduce a novel anti-biofouling ultrafiltration membrane based on reduced graphene oxide (RGO) and bacterial nanocellulose (BNC), which incoporates GO flakes into BNC in situ during its growth. In contrast to previously reported GO-based membranes for water treatment, the RGO/BNC membrane exhibited excellent aqueous stability under environmentally relevant pH conditions, vigorous mechanical agitation/sonication, and even high pressure. Importantly, due to its excellent photothermal property, under light illumination, the membrane exhibited effective bactericidal activity, obviating the need for any treatment of the feedwater or external energy. The novel design and in situ incorporation of the membranes developed in this study present a proof-of-concept for realizing new, highly efficient, and environmental-friendly anti-biofouling membranes for water purification.