Breakthrough in water treatment - the polyphenylene/carbon nanotube composite membrane

(Nanowerk News) In a new study published in the journal Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering ("Conductive and stable polyphenylene/CNT composite membrane for electrically enhanced membrane fouling mitigation"), researchers from Dalian University of Technology have have introduced a groundbreaking polyphenylene/carbon nanotube (PP/CNT) composite membrane.
This cutting-edge development in membrane technology promises a revolutionary approach to water treatment and wastewater management. The PP/CNT membrane stands out for its remarkable electrical conductivity and superior antifouling properties, effectively tackling the persistent issue of membrane fouling in water purification processes.
Conductive and stable polyphenylene/CNT composite membrane for electrically enhanced membrane fouling mitigation
Graphical abstract of the work. (© Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering)
The study conducted an in-depth analysis of the properties and performance of the PP/CNT membrane, utilizing sophisticated techniques like SEM imaging and comprehensive chemical analysis. These meticulous examinations confirmed the membrane's impeccable structure and successful creation, showcasing a flawless configuration with high stability under diverse conditions.
In terms of electrical conductivity, the membrane excelled, particularly in wet environments, where it demonstrated conductivity levels significantly surpassing those of its counterparts.
An essential aspect of the membrane's design, its hydrophilicity, remained intact post-PP crosslinking, a vital attribute contributing to its antifouling efficiency.
A standout feature of the PP/CNT membrane is its exceptional antifouling performance when subjected to electro-assistance, especially under a negative voltage. This novel method markedly diminishes flux reduction and effectively counters fouling, a fact underscored in tests against a variety of pollutants such as humic acid, sodium alginate, and E. coli.
The application of a negative voltage notably enhances the electrostatic repulsion between the negatively charged pollutants and the membrane surface. Conversely, a positive voltage boosts the removal efficiency through mechanisms like electro-adsorption and electrooxidation.
Most impressively, the PP/CNT membrane operating at -2.0 V demonstrated extraordinary stability and reusability. It achieved nearly complete flux recovery after backwashing and exhibited significantly lower irreversible fouling compared to conventional commercial membranes.
The implications of this development for water treatment applications are profound. The PP/CNT composite membrane opens new avenues for more effective, sustainable, and reliable water purification processes, addressing one of the most critical challenges in environmental management and public health.
Source: TranSpread (Note: Content may be edited for style and length)
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