Cellulose acetate graft-(glycidylmethacrylate-g-PEG) for modification of AMC ultrafiltration membranes to mitigate organic fouling
A hydrophilic cellulose acetate-graft-(glycidylmethacrylate-g-polyethylene glycol) (CA-g-(GMA-g-PEG)) was synthesized and incorporated into acetylated methyl cellulose (AMC) to prepare antifouling ultrafiltration membranes. The successful synthesis of CA-g-(GMA-g-PEG) was confirmed by 1H-NMR and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies. The AMC blend membranes were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and contact angle analysis to investigate the effect of CA-g-(GMA-g-PEG) on the properties of the membrane surface. The increase of CA-g-(GMA-g-PEG) content in the AMC matrix reduced the macrovoids and transformed to a sponge-like structure in the entire membrane cross section. Furthermore, the increase in the graft moiety enhanced the performance of the membranes. Surface free energy parameters calculated from the contact angle measurements indicate that the interfacial free energy of the blend membranes were lower than those of the pure AMC membranes. The modified membrane surface became more hydrophilic and more wettable because of the preferential orientation of these polar groups towards the membrane surface. The efficiency of these membranes in the separation of singlet foulants and multi foulants increased significantly, thus increasing the fouling resistance. These membranes would be useful for organic fouling prevention during water and wastewater treatment.