Evaluation of a nanohybrid membrane (PSF/ZnO) efficiency in natural organic matter removal from water

Document Type : Original Article


1 Environmental Health Research Center, Research Institute for Health Development, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran.

2 Student Research Committee, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran.

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health and Nutrition, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran

4 Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.



Introduction: Natural organic matter (NOM) in drinking water sources has always been regarded as a precursor for the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) as well as carcinogenic properties. This study aimed to fabricate and characterize a nanohybrid ultrafiltration membrane (PSF/ZnO) to evaluate its efficiency in NOM removal from water.
Materials and Methods:  Nanohybrid membranes with ratios of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4% w/w of ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) were fabricated using the phase inversion method and characterized by the contact angle, AFM, FTIR, and SEM analyses. In this study, the effects of initial humic acid concentration, operating pressure, pH, and filtration time parameters were examined on the humic acid (HA) removal efficiency and pure water flux through the membrane.
Results: The results showed that addition of ZnO NPs to the PSF membrane reduced the contact angle on the PSF/ZnO nanohybrid membrane’s surface. According to FE-SEM images, increasing the ZnO concentration changed the porous structure of the membranes from a spongy, teardrop shape to a finger-like channel structure. The FTIR analysis revealed an increase in the hydrophilicity of the membrane due to the presence of hydroxyl functional groups in ZnO. AFM images indicated an increase in the surface roughness of nanoparticle-containing membranes. It was found that the membrane performance, an increase in the concentration of ZnO NPs from 0 to 4% w/w increased the HA removal efficiency from 43.63% to 83.4%.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the use of PSF/ZnO nanohybrid membranes increased HA removal efficiency and pure water flux passing through the membrane.


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