Facile synthesis of novel tough and highly flexible biodegradable membranes for water microfiltration

Ahmed H. Ibrahim1, 2, Amina A. F. Zikry1, Rasha A. Azzam1, Tarek M. Madkour2*

1Department of Chemistry, Helwan University, Cairo 11785, Egypt

2Department of Chemistry, The American University in Cairo, AUC Avenue, P.O. Box 74, New Cairo 11835, Egypt

DOI: 10.5185/amlett.2019.2230

Publication Date (Web): Jan 14, 2019

E-mail: tarekmadkour@aucegypt.edu

Abstract

Microporous polymeric membranes have found great applications in the area of water desalination and wastewater treatment, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and bone regeneration. The ability to create micro-size pores within a polymeric membrane allows for cavity formation that could form channels through which substances may permeate or percolate easily. The majority of these applications though, require micro-size porous membranes with small pore size and narrow pore-size distribution as to allow the control of the permeating substances or tissues. In the current work, an intricate and precise method was developed to generate micro-size porogen salt crystals with controlled micro-size distribution, which is then mixed with a specific biodegradable polymeric blend designed to offer both toughness and high flexibility for the production of microfiltration biodegradable membranes that can withstand the high pressures of large volumes of industrial wastewater undergoing filtration treatment. After casting, the porogen crystals are washed away rendering membranes with well-distributed micro-scale cavities. Using salt porogens offers a great advantage of no contamination to the environment since all salt particles are simply washed away. The ingenuity of this technique is that it allows the filtration of the wastewater at low or no pressures.

Keywords

Microfiltration, biodegradable, polymer blends, porogen microcrystals, wastewater treatment.

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