Polymers for Membrane Filtration in Water Purification

  • Adewale Giwa
  • Menatalla Ahmed
  • Shadi Wajih HasanEmail author
Part of the Springer Series on Polymer and Composite Materials book series (SSPCM)


Polymers are sometimes preferred for membrane filtration because they are more flexible, easier to handle, and less expensive than inorganic membranes fabricated from oxides, metals, and ceramics. The polymers are used as the membrane active layer and porous support in reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF), ultrafiltration (UF), microfiltration (MF) processes. However, the application of polymers for filtration suffers critical drawbacks, such as the chemical attack of polymers, membrane fouling, and hydrophobicity of most polymers. In this chapter, the polymers used for membrane filtration in recent studies and their fabrication procedures are presented and discussed. The polymers used in recent applications include cellulose acetate (CA), polyamide (PA), polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), polysulfone (PSF), polyethersulfone (PES), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyimide (PI), polyacrylonitrile (PAN), polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA), poly(arylene ether ketone) (PAEK), poly(ether imide) (PEI), and polyaniline nanoparticles (PANI). A new polymeric material named polyethersulfone amide (PESA) has also been presented recently. Most of the recent studies have focused on improving the specific energy consumption, salt rejection, water flux, chemical resistance and antifouling properties of polymeric membranes and nanocomposites through blending and surface modification techniques. These techniques involve the use of zwitterionic coatings, sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) (SPAES), perfluorophenyl azide (PFPA), carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene oxide (GO) as nanofillers, polyether ether ketone (PEEK), and nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide (TiO2), and mesoporous silica. The use of polymers for filtration is still gaining tremendous attention, and further improvements of polymeric characteristics for enhanced membrane performance are expected in the coming years.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adewale Giwa
    • 1
  • Menatalla Ahmed
    • 1
  • Shadi Wajih Hasan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringKhalifa University of Science and TechnologyAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

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