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Effect of SiO2 on PSF/PF127 nanocomposite mixed matrix membrane for the separation of oil–water emulsion

Gomathy Nainar Manikandan, Alagappan Janani, and Meyyappan Helen Kalavathy

Department of Chemical Engineering, A C Tech, Anna University, Chennai, India



Received: 5 August 2022  Accepted: 19 January 2023


In the present work, the synthesized silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles and Pluronic F127 (PF127) were incorporated into polysulfone (PSF) to prepare PSF/PF127/SiO2 nanocomposite ultrafiltration (UF) membrane to enhance antifouling properties. The prepared antifouling UF membrane was used for removing the oil molecules from the synthetically produced oil–water solution. SiO2 nanoparticles are synthesized via sol–gel process and characterized by SEM, FTIR, XRD, and UV–visible. The modified membranes with different concentrations (0.2, 0.6, and 1 wt.%) of SiO2 and 1 wt.% of PF127 are fabricated via phase inversion technique. The prepared membranes are analyzed using SEM, AFM, contact angle, pore structure factor, and molecular weight cutoff (MWCO). The thermal and mechanical stability was characterized by TGA and mechanical strength analyzer. The performance of the membrane is measured by permeate flux, rejection, and antifouling properties. In filtration performance, PSF (16 wt.%), PF127 (1 wt.%), and SiO2 (1 wt.%) membrane resulted in enriched permeation of 301.2 L m−2 h−1 with better rejection of 94% and MWCO of 40 kDa and excellent recyclability with 90% flux recovery ratio. From the overall performance, the modification of the PSF membrane with SiO2 nanoparticles showed improved efficacy in the separation of oil wastewater.

Keywords: PSF; SiO2 nanoparticle; Pluronic F127; Membrane surface modification; Fouling resistance mechanism; Oil–water emulsion

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-02689-4


Chemical Papers 77 (6) 3093–3110 (2023)

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