Synthesis and characterisation of ultrafiltration membranes functionalised with C18 as a modifier for adsorption capabilities of polyaromatic hydrocarbons

  • S.A. Mntambo
  • P.S. Mdluli
  • M.M. Mahlambi
  • S.C. Onwubu
  • N.L. Nxumalo
Keywords: PAHs, PVDF, ultra-filtration, phase inversion


The disposal of wastewater containing polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been observed to be a very costly process, hence mitigation for many industrial plants continues to be a challenge. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential use of C18 as a modifier in membrane technology; thus, C18 was incorporated into poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) membranes. According to the specific composition ratios, the phase inversion process was used for dispersion of the C18 into PVDF, which was subsequently dispersed in 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). The resulting membranes were characterised with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The mechanical properties of the membranes were analysed using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), whereas the thermal behaviour was studied with a thermogravimetric analyser (TGA). Furthermore, the functionality of the synthesised membrane was further evaluated by its adsorption potentials using high performance liquid chromatography equipped with an ultraviolet detector. The SEM micrographs showed successful incorporation of the C18 within the polymeric membrane (PVDF) backbone. The TGA showed that the thermal decomposition of the synthesised membranes was observed at 495 and 610°C for PVDF bare and PVDF/C18, respectively. In addition, the HPLC results obtained indicated that the C18 modified membrane was more effective in adsorbing PAHs when compared to the bare PVDF membrane. The salient features of this study therefore suggest that C18 could be used as a potential modifier for the development of PVDF membranes.

Keywords: PAHs, PVDF, ultra-filtration, phase inversion


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eISSN: 0378-4738