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Novel triangular silver nanoparticle modified membranes for enhanced antifouling performance

Ahmad, Jabran, Wen, Xianghua, Li, Fengjuan, Wang, Bo
RSC advances 2019 v.9 no.12 pp. 6733-6744
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, anisotropy, antibacterial properties, biofouling, electrolytes, hydrophilicity, leaching, nanosilver, scanning electron microscopy, silver, transmission electron microscopy
This study marks the first ever attempt at the successful fabrication of a novel reactive membrane to combat fouling through layer-by-layer (LBL) surface modification with polyelectrolyte (PE), followed by anisotropic triangular silver nanoparticles (TSNP). The morphology and the presence of TSNP on the membrane was confirmed by HR-TEM, FE-SEM and XPS. The charge density of the novel membrane (PE-TSNP) was increased 15.6 fold, as a result of the sharp-tip morphology of the TSNP forming tip-based “hot spots” on the membrane surface and high-atom-density active facets, which also enhanced the membrane hydrophilicity by 36%. Owing to these improved features, the novel membrane displayed remarkable antibacterial and anti-adhesion properties by achieving 100% bactericidal effect against high initial bacterial concentration (10⁷ CFU mL⁻¹). The membrane flux was improved by 31% while retaining a high flux recovery rate of 98.2% against biofouling. The membrane also mitigated organic and bio-organic fouling by maintaining high flux recovery rates of 96% and 95% respectively. As compared with a spherical silver nanoparticle modified membrane (PE-SSNP), the PE-TSNP membrane was 25.7% more hydrophilic and achieved 10% higher bacterial killing. Moreover, the novel membrane displayed 9.5%, 11.6%, and 14% higher flux recovery rates than that of the PE-SSNP membrane against biofouling, organic and bio-organic fouling respectively. Furthermore, the novel membrane retained a long-term biocidal capability of 93% even after 4 months of successive tests. ICP-MS revealed silver ion leaching of 4 μg L⁻¹ and the total silver loss of 14% from the PE-TSNP membrane after 14 days.