Impact of Carbon Nanotubes on the ‎Polymeric Membrane for Oil – Water ‎Separation

Document Type : Research Paper


1 ‎Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Witwatersrand, ‎Johannesburg/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa.

2 African Materials Science and Engineering Network (AMSEN), DST- NRF Centre of ‎Excellence in Strong Materials, P/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa. ‎

3 ‎Department of Civil Engineering and Build Environment, University of Witwatersrand, ‎Johannesburg/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa.‎

4 ‎African Materials Science and Engineering Network (AMSEN), DST- NRF Centre of ‎Excellence in Strong Materials, P/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa. ‎

5 ‎Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Witwatersrand, ‎Johannesburg/Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa.‎


   In this research, the classical phase inversion method was used to produce the polysulfone (PSF) membrane by using three different solvents: N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF), chloroform (CHCL3) and tetrahydrofuran (THF). Furthermore, different concentrations of functionalized multi – walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were added to PSF membranes by the classical phase inversion method. MWCNTs were synthesized using chemical vapour deposition (C.V.D) then functionalized by acid treatment. The morphology and the structure of the membrane and MWCNTs were characterized by using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The characterization of the functionalization of the MWCNTs was performed by using the Raman spectroscopy. It was found that the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the polymeric membrane improve with the content in functionalized MWCNTs concentration in the polymeric membrane matrix. The membrane with the MWCNTS concentration of 0.4% w/w showed the highest flux of 117 L/m^2.h and solute rejection. The selectivity and permeate flux of the polymeric membrane were increased with functionalized MWCNTs content for the membranes produced with the three different solvents.


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