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Zeolite–polysulfone-based adsorptive membrane for removal of metal pollutants

Shazlina Abd Hamid, Mohammad Shahadat, and Suzylawati Ismail

School of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Nibong Tebal, Malaysia



Received: 6 February 2021  Accepted: 19 April 2021


The present study highlights the development of a zeolite–polysulfone (Zeo–PSf) supported membrane to assess its potential for the treatment of heavy metal ions in aqueous solutions. Surface morphology, chemical compositions, pore size, and hydrophilicity of the Zeo–PSf composite membrane have been investigated using scanning electron microscope, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, porometer, and water contact angle measurement. Moreover, the copper ion dimension was measured using dynamic light scattering analysis. Continuous filtration experiment was carried out using the cross-flow system under different conditions of polymer concentration (15–21 wt%), zeolite loading (2.5–15.0 wt%), transmembrane pressure (0.5–2.5 bar), inlet flow rate (0.1–0.7 L/min), and initial copper concentrations (10–100 mg/L). Moreover, a reusability study was performed to examine the optimum rejection rate and filtration flux for copper ions. Among all fabricated membranes, the Zeo–PSf membrane having 15.0 wt% zeolite along with 0.1 L/min flow rate achieved 96.4% copper rejection at 0.5 bar under 24.5 L/m2 h flux. The results of the regeneration study revealed that the Zeo–PSf composite membrane can be effectively used up to ten cycles without any impact on its removal performance in terms of leaching and fouling.

Keywords: Adsorptive membrane; Zeolite; Polysulfone; Heavy metal ions; Copper removal; Cross-flow filtration

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-021-01668-x


Chemical Papers 75 (9) 4479–4492 (2021)

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