Fabrication of Microcrystalline Cellulose Incorporated Polyethersulfone Hybrid Mixed Matrix Membrane for Humic Acid Removal


In this study, a combination of blending and dry-wet phase inversion method was used to fabricate hybrid mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) by incorporating different combinations of materials between microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and lithium chloride (LiCl) for treating feed solution containing humic acid (HA). The fabricated membranes were characterised by scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and contact angle (CA) analyses. The membrane performances were subsequently tested for pure water flux (PWF), HA rejection and antifouling behaviour using 50 mg l–1 HA solution at pH 7.7. The best MMM was attained when incorporating polyethersulfone (PES) with MCC in the presence of LiCl. In this case, the PWF and permeate flux were significantly increased from 0.5091 kg m–2 h–1 to 11.2990 kg m–2 h–1, and from 0.2066 kg m–2 h–1 to 7.4330 kg m–2 h–1, respectively whilst maintaining high HA rejection of 94.91%. Furthermore, the membrane showed excellent antifouling capabilities due to the significant enhancement of the hydrophilicity of the membrane surface resulted from the partial dissolution of MCC in the LiCl/DMAc system. This work demonstrates that modifying PES with MCC in the presence of LiCl can be an effective approach to enhance MCC deposition, physical properties and simultaneously boost the performance of PES membranes for wastewater applications.