Manara - Qatar Research Repository
membranes-12-01143.pdf (7.54 MB)

A Comparative Analysis of the Effect of Carbonaceous Nanoparticles on the Physicochemical Properties of Hybrid Polyethersulfone Ultrafiltration Membranes

Download (7.54 MB)
journal contribution
submitted on 2024-04-22, 06:35 and posted on 2024-04-22, 06:36 authored by Lubna Jaber, Ismail W. Almanassra, Sumina Namboorimadathil Backer, Viktor Kochkodan, Abdallah Shanableh, Muataz Ali Atieh

Numerous studies have been previously reported on the use of nanoscale carbonaceous fillers, such as multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and graphene oxide (GO), in polymeric ultrafiltration (UF) membranes; however, no insight has been clearly reported on which material provides the best enhancements in membrane performance. In this study, a comparative analysis was carried out to establish a comprehensible understanding of the physicochemical properties of hybrid polyethersulfone (PES) UF membranes incorporated with MWCNTs and GO nanoparticles at various concentrations. The hybrid membranes were prepared via the non-solvent-induced phase separation process and further characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscope (AFM). The AFM images showed homogeneous membrane surfaces with a reduction in the membrane surface roughness from 2.62 nm for bare PES to 2.39 nm for PES/MWCNTs and to 1.68 nm for PES/GO membranes due to improved hydrophilicity of the membranes. Physicochemical properties of the hybrid PES membranes were assessed, and the outcomes showed an enhancement in the porosity, pore size, water contact angle, and water permeability with respect to nanoparticle concentration. GO-incorporated PES membranes exhibited the highest porosity, pore size, and lowest contact angle as compared to PES/MWCNTs, indicating the homogeneous distribution of nanoparticles within the membrane structure. PES/MWCNTs (0.5 wt.%) and PES/GO (1.0 wt.%) hybrid membranes exhibited the highest water flux of 450.0 and 554.8 L m−2 h−1, respectively, at an applied operating pressure of 1 bar. The filtration and antifouling performance of the PES hybrid membranes were evaluated using 50 mg L−1 of humic acid (HA) as a foulant at pH = 7. Compared to the bare PES membrane, the MWCNTs and GO-incorporated PES hybrid membranes exhibited enhanced permeability and HA removal. Moreover, PES/MWCNTs (0.5 wt.%) and PES/GO (1 wt.%) hybrid membranes reported HA rejection of 90.8% and 94.8%, respectively. The abundant oxygen-containing functional groups in GO-incorporated PES membranes resulted in more hydrophilic membranes, leading to enhanced permeability and fouling resistance. The antifouling properties and flux recovery ratio were improved by the addition of both nanoparticles. Given these findings, although both MWCNTs and GO nanoparticles are seen to notably improve the membrane performance, PES membranes with 1 wt.% GO loading provided the highest removal of natural organic matter, such as HA, under the same experimental conditions.

Other Information

Published in: Membranes
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute - HBKU

Usage metrics

    Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute - HBKU



    Ref. manager