In this work, MXene as a hydrophilic 2D nanosheet has been suggested to tailor the polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) flat sheet membrane characteristics via bulk modification. The amount of MXene varied in the PPSU casting solution from 0–1.5 wt.%, while a series of characterization tools have been employed to detect the surface characteristics changes. This included atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), contact angle, pore size and porosity, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Results disclosed that the MXene content could significantly influence some of the membranes’ surface characteristics while no effect was seen on others. The optimal MXene content was found to be 0.6 wt.%, as revealed by the experimental work. The roughness parameters of the 0.6 wt.% nanocomposite membrane were notably enhanced, while greater hydrophilicity has been imparted compared to the nascent PPSU membrane. This witnessed enhancement in the surface characteristics of the nanocomposite was indeed reflected in their performance. A triple enhancement in the pure water flux was witnessed without compromising the retention of the membranes against the Cu2+, Cd2+ and Pd2+ feed. In parallel, high, and comparable separation rates (>92%) were achieved by all membranes regardless of the MXene content. In addition, promising antifouling features were observed with the nanocomposite membranes, disclosing that these nanocomposite membranes could offer a promising potential to treat heavy metals-containing wastewater for various applications.
- heavy metals
- nanocomposite membrane