The approach of the present work is based on the use of poly (methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) polymer, which is compatible with PVDF and TiO₂ nanoparticles in casting solutions, for the preparation of nano-composites membranes using a safer and more compatible solvent. TiO₂ embedded poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)/PMMA photocatalytic membranes were prepared by phase inversion method. A non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) coupled with vapor induced phase separation (VIPS) was used to fabricate flat-sheet membranes using a dope solution consisting of PMMA, PVDF, TiO₂, and triethyl phosphate (TEP) as an alternative non-toxic solvent. Membrane morphology was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Backscatter electron detector (BSD) mapping was used to monitor the inter-dispersion of TiO₂ in the membrane surface and matrix. The effects of polymer concentration, evaporation time, additives and catalyst amount on the membrane morphology and properties were investigated. Tests on photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (MB) were also carried out using the membranes entrapped with different concentrations of TiO₂. The results of this study showed that nearly 99% MB removal can be easily achieved by photocatalysis using TiO₂ immobilized on the membrane matrix. Moreover, it was observed that the quantity of TiO₂ plays a significant role in the dye removal.
Keywords: TiO2 catalyst; blend polymers; non-toxic solvent; organic pollutants; photocatalytic membranes; polymeric membranes.