Surface Modification of PES Hollow Fiber Membranes using Iron Oxide Particles for Water Treatment: Does Particle Size Really Matter?


  • Nadiene Salleha Mohd Nawi
  • Lau Woei Jye Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Norhaniza Yusof
  • Noresah Said
  • Ahmad Fauzi Ismail



Hollow fiber, Membrane, Iron oxide, Wastewater, Antifouling performance


Factors such as particle type and its loading have been previously studied in tailoring the efficiency of particles-modified polymeric membranes for water treatment. However, the role of particle sizes in membrane modification is often overlooked. Thus, in this work, two commercial iron oxide (Fe3O4) particles (i.e., 50–100 nm and <5 µm) were incorporated into polyethersulfone (PES) hollow fiber membranes, followed by a series of analytical instruments and filtration assessment to study the impacts of Fe3Oparticle size on membrane properties. Results revealed that the addition of smaller Fe3O4 particles into PES solution produced membrane with better hydrophilicity (contact angle: 75.77°) and consequently better pure water flux (PWF) (110.42 L/ compared to the pristine PES membrane (82.60 L/ and the membrane with larger Fe3O4 particles (91.54 L/ This is due to the better dispersion of smaller particles in the solvent, which led to improved particle distribution on the PES membrane surface. Most importantly, the membrane modified by smaller particles displayed the best separation performance by rejecting 80.43% bovine serum albumin (BSA), and exhibited the highest antifouling properties by recovering 86.03% of its flux after tested with foulant-contained solution, making it the best performing membrane.


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