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Cellulose acetate/layered double hydroxide adsorptive membranes for efficient removal of pharmaceutical environmental contaminants

Raicopol, Matei D., Andronescu, Corina, Voicu, Stefan I., Vasile, Eugeniu, Pandele, Andreea M.
Carbohydrate polymers 2019 v.214 pp. 204-212
X-ray diffraction, adsorption, aqueous solutions, cellulose, cellulose acetate, contact angle, diclofenac, drugs, electrostatic interactions, human health, hydrodynamics, hydrogen bonding, micro-computed tomography, nanocomposites, permeability, pollution, polymers, porosity, scanning electron microscopy, tetracycline, thermal stability, thermogravimetry, transmission electron microscopy, wastewater
The increasing amount of residual pharmaceutical contaminants in wastewater has a negative impact on both the environment and human health. In the present study, we developed new cellulose acetate/Mg-Al layered double hydroxide (Mg-Al LDH) nanocomposite membranes as an efficient method to remove pharmaceutical substances from wastewater. The morphology, porosity, surface properties and thermal stability of nanocomposite membranes containing various amounts of nanofiller were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray microtomography (μCT), contact angle measurements and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The Mg-Al LDH nanofiller showed a high degree of exfoliation in the polymer matrix, evidenced by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The hydrodynamic properties and adsorption capacity were evaluated with pure water and aqueous solutions of two common drugs, diclofenac sodium (DS) and tetracycline (TC), and the nanocomposite membranes showed an improved permeability compared with neat cellulose acetate. The membrane prepared with 4 wt.% Mg-Al LDH loading exhibited the highest water flux compared with the pure polymer one (529 vs 36 L·m−2·h-1) and a tenfold increase in adsorption capacity for DS. This enhancement is attributed to electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged drug molecule and positively charged Mg-Al LDH layers. Conversely, in the case of TC, the increase in adsorption capacity was smaller and was assigned to hydrogen bonding interactions between the drug molecule and the nanofiller.