Journal of Membrane Science, Vol.537, 297-309, 2017
A high flux polyvinyl acetate-coated electrospun nylon 6/SiO2 composite microfiltration membrane for the separation of oil-in-water emulsion with improved antifouling performance
A high flux and antifouling polyvinyl acetate (PVAc)-coated nylon 6/Silica (N6/SiO2) composite microfiltration (MF) membrane was prepared using a facile electrospinning technique. The fabricated MF membrane was robust (tensile strength of 23.3 MPa) with a porosity and average pore size of 78% and 170 nm, respectively. The PVAc-coated electrospun N6/SiO2 composite membranes were used for the first time for microfiltration of oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions. This membrane achieved a water permeability of 4814 LMH/bar. During this microfiltration of O/W emulsions at 4 psi of applied pressure, the oil rejections of 98.80%, 99% and 99.20% were achieved from oil concentrations of 250 mg/L, 500 mg/L and 1000 mg/L, respectively. The fabricated membrane also showed antifouling properties with a water flux recovery of 85% with an O/W emulsion. Moreover, a strong interaction between the electrospun nanofiber mat and the PVAc coating demonstrated the structural stability of the membrane.