Polysulfone (PSf) membrane has been widely used in water separation and purification, although, membrane fouling is still a serious problem limiting its potential. We aim to improve the antifouling of PSf membranes via a very simple and efficient method. In this work, antifouling PSf membranes were fabricated via in situ cross-linked polymerization coupled with non-solvent induced phase separation. In brief, acrylic acid (AA) and vinyltriethoxysilane (VTEOS) were copolymerized in PSf solution, then directly casted into membranes without purification. With the increase of monomers concentration, the morphology of the as-cast membranes changed from a finger-like morphology to a fully sponge-like structure due to the increased viscosity and decreased precipitation rate of the polymer solutions. Meanwhile, the hydrophilicity and electronegativity of modified membranes were highly improved leading to inhibited protein adsorption and improved antifouling property. Furthermore, in order to further find out the different roles player by AA and VTESO, the modified membrane without VTEOS was prepared and characterized. The results indicated that AA is more effective in the membrane hydrophilicity improvement, VTEOS is more crucial to improve membrane stability. This work provides valuable guidance for fabricating PSf membranes with hydrophilicity and antifouling property via in situ cross-linked polymerization.
- Acrylic acid
- In situ cross-linked polymerization
- Polysulfone membrane