Journal of Membrane Science, Vol.479, 165-174, 2015
Carbon nanotube composite membranes for microfiltration of pharmaceuticals and personal care products: Capabilities and potential mechanisms
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) have been widely used in modern society and persistently released into aquatic environments. Energy-efficient technologies are in immediate need to control PPCP pollution. Nanocomposite membranes containing single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT and MWCHT) were fabricated in this study and used in the filtration of triclosan (TCS), acetaminophen (AAP), and ibuprofen (IBU) to determine the capabilities and mechanisms of PPCP removal. The removals ranged from approximately 10-95%, and increased with increasing number of aromatic rings (AAP approximate to IBU < TCS), decreasing surface oxygen content (oxidized MWCNT < MWCNT), increasing specific surface area (MWCNT < SWCNT), and elimination of natural organic matter. Also, variations of solution pH from 4 to 10 influenced PPCP removal by up to 70%; greater removals were observed with neutral PPCP molecules than with ions due to reduced electrostatic repulsion (TCS and IBU) or formation of hydrogen bond (AAP). These results suggest that the capabilities of CNT membranes in removing PPCP became high when strong adsorption existed due to favorable PPCP-CNT interactions. Future study is warranted to identify and strength CNT-PPCP interactions in order to enhance the efficiency of CNT composite membranes used for PPCP removal. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Adsorptive filtration;Carbon nanotubes;Natural organic matter;Pharmaceuticals and personal care products;Physico-chemical interactions