This study investigates the removal of heavy metal ions and humic acid using Cellulose acetate (CA) and Poly (methyl vinyl ether-alt-maleic acid) (PMVEMA) blend membranes. Antifouling properties of blend membranes were also investigated. Flat sheet membranes were prepared by phase inversion technique using different concentrations of CA and PMVEMA. The prepared membranes were characterized and their performance was evaluated by measuring pure water flux, water uptake capacity and humic acid removal. Rejection of humic acid (HA) was observed to be around 97% for all the blend membranes because of electrostatic interactions between the functional groups of HA and blends. The fouling characteristics of the membranes was assessed using HA as a foulant and the antifouling capacity of blend membranes was observed to be greater with a flux recovery ratio of almost 95% when compared to bare CA, commercial CA (TechInc) and other reported CA blends used for HA rejection. Also, the blend membranes were very effective in removing heavy metal ions (Pb2+, Cd2+ and Cr+6) and humic acid simultaneously. Overall, the PMVEMA modified CA membranes can open up new possibilities in enhancing the hydrophilicity, permeability and antifouling properties.
Keywords: Antifouling; Cellulose acetate; Humic acid; Metal ion removal; PMVEMA.
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