Poly (citric acid)-grafted-MWCNT (PCA-g-MWCNT) was incorporated as nanofiller in polyethersulfone (PES) to produce hemodialysis mixed matrix membrane (MMM). Citric acid monohydrate was polymerized onto the surface of MWCNTs by polycondensation. Neat PES membrane and PES/MWCNTs MMMs were fabricated by dry-wet spinning technique. The membranes were characterized in terms of morphology, pure water flux (PWF) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein rejection. The grafting yield of PCA onto MWCNTs was calculated as 149.2%. The decrease of contact angle from 77.56° to 56.06° for PES/PCA-g-MWCNTs membrane indicated the increase in surface hydrophilicity, which rendered positive impacts on the PWF and BSA rejection of the membrane. The PWF increased from 15.8Lm(-2)h(-1) to 95.36Lm(-2)h(-1) upon the incorporation of PCA-g-MWCNTs due to the attachment of abundant hydrophilic groups that present on the MWCNTs, which have improved the affinity of membrane towards the water molecules. For protein rejection, the PES/PCA-g-MWCNTs MMM rejected 95.2% of BSA whereas neat PES membrane demonstrated protein rejection of 90.2%. Compared to commercial PES hemodialysis membrane, the PES/PCA-g-MWCNTs MMMs showed less flux decline behavior and better PWF recovery ratio, suggesting that the membrane antifouling performance was improved. The incorporation of PCA-g-MWCNTs enhanced the separation features and antifouling capabilities of the PES membrane for hemodialysis application.
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