Flexible inorganic nanofibrous membranes with hierarchical porosity for efficient water purification†
Organic molecule pollution in industrial and agricultural sewage is a serious threat to the environment and human health. Adsorption membranes have proven to be good candidates for removing contaminations from wastewater efficiently and continuously. Inorganic porous materials possessing large surface area, and high chemical and thermal stability are excellent adsorbents for organic contaminants. However, a major shortfall of the inorganic porous membranes is that they are usually fragile. Here we demonstrate flexible SiO2–TiO2 composite porous nanofibrous membranes fabricated via electrospinning technique for efficient water purification. The composite membranes exhibit high adsorption capacity and permeability in the purification test with methylene blue solution based on their hierarchical porous structure and ultrafast wettability, and can be easily recycled by calcination. Such properties, integrated with the membrane fabrication process that is energy-efficient, low cost and easy to scale-up, will facilitate their practical application in the removal of organic pollutants.