Preparation and Characterization of Polymeric-Hybrid PES/TiO2 Hollow Fiber Membranes for Potential Applications in Water Treatment
In this work, poly(ethersulfone) (PES) ultrafiltration (UF) hollow fibers (HF) were modified by introducing TiO2 nanoparticles (TiO2-NPs) in the polymeric dope, to endow them with photocatalytic properties. Different dope compositions and spinning conditions for producing ""blank"" PES UF fibers with suitable properties were investigated. PEO-PPO-PEO (Poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(propylene glycol)-block-poly(ethylene glycol, Pluronic® (Sigma-Aldrich, Milan, Italy) was finally selected as the additive and a suitable dope composition was identified. After the detection of an appropriate dope composition and the optimization of the spinning parameters, PES-TiO2 HF was produced. The optimized composition was employed for preparing the mixed matrix HF loaded with TiO2 NPs. The effect of different TiO2 NP (0.3-1 wt %) concentrations and bore fluid compositions on the fiber morphology and properties were explored. The morphology of the produced fibers was analyzed by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Fibers were further characterized by measuring: pore size diameters and thickness, porosity, and pure water permeability (PWP). The photocatalytic activity of the new membranes was also tested by UV light irradiation. The model ""foulant"" methylene blue (MB) was used in order to prove the efficiency of the novel UF membrane for dye photo-degradation.