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Initial testing of electrospun nanofibre filters in water filtration applications

D Bjorge, N Daels, s De Vrieze, P Dejans, T Van Camp, W Audenaert, P Westbroek, K De Clerck, C Boeckaert, S van Hulle


The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of nanofibre microfiltration membranes, spun by an innovative electrospinning technique, in water filtration applications. As such, this study bridges the gap between developments in electrospinning techniques for the production of flat-sheet membranes and the application of these membranes in water filtration. Three different applications were examined. Firstly, the use of the membrane (functionalised or non-functionalised) for the removal of pathogens was investigated. Secondly, the electrospun flat-sheet membranes were applied for wastewater treatment in a laboratory-scale submerged membrane bioreactor (MBR). In addition to these applications, physical properties such as clean water permeability (CWP) and strength were also examined. The tests showed that the electrospun membranes can be used for water filtration applications, but that further improvements are necessary before these membranes can be practically employed. In particular, the level of functionality and the properties of irreversible fouling require further research.

Keywords: electrospinning, nanofibre, microfiltration, pathogen removal, MBR
AJOL African Journals Online