Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering

, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 2319–2329 | Cite as

Preparation and characterization of PES/SiO2 composite ultrafiltration membrane for advanced water treatment

  • Mimi Suliza MuhamadEmail author
  • Mohamad Razman SalimEmail author
  • Woei-Jye Lau
Separation Technology, Thermodynamics


Polyethersulfone (PES) is a commonly used polymeric material for the fabrication of ultrafiltration (UF) membranes. However, the hydrophobic nature of PES leads to poor membrane performance with low anti-fouling properties during filtration process. Hence, for this study, the PES-based hollow fiber membrane was modified with inorganic silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles of various loading (from zero to 4 wt%), aiming to improve the membrane properties for advanced water treatment process. The characterization of the surface morphology, physical and chemical properties of novel PES/SiO2 composite membranes was performed by SEM, FTIR-ATR, TGA and contact angle analyzer. The SEM images show the changes in membrane structure as well as skin layer thickness upon addition of SiO2 nanoparticles. The FTIR-ATR analysis shows the functional group of SiO2 in the polymer matrices. Results further show that the presence of 2 wt% SiO2 in the membrane matrix is the best loading to improve the water flux and bovine serum albumin (BSA) rejection, achieving 87.2 L/m2·h and 94%, respectively. As a comparison, the control PES membrane only exhibits water flux of 44.2 L/m2·h and rejection of 81%. Results also show that the flux recovery percentage of the membrane was improved from 82% in the control membrane to 93% in the membrane incorporated with 2 wt% SiO2, indicating improved membrane anti-fouling property. Furthermore, the PES/SiO2 membrane shows huge potential for advanced water treatment, as the qualities of the permeate samples treated by this membrane could meet the limit set by a local water company.


Polyethersulfone Ultrafiltration Silicon Dioxide Advanced Water Treatment Anti-fouling Performance 


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Copyright information

© Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers, Seoul, Korea 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), Research Institute for Sustainable Environment (RISE), Faculty of Civil EngineeringUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudai, JohorMalaysia
  2. 2.Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC)Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudai, JohorMalaysia

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