A study on the performance of self-cleaning oil-water separation membrane formed by various TiO2 nanostructures

Benny Yong Liang Tan, Ming Hang Tai, Jermyn Juay, Zhaoyang Liu, Darren Sun

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of efficient self-cleaning oil-water separation membrane has been regarded as an important component due to the daily production of oily wastewater. TiO2 materials have been the most promising candidate for oil-water separation membranes due to its intrinsic superhydrophilic and underwater superoleophobic properties. However, its performance is affected by its different forms of nanostructures. In this work, various TiO2 membranes formed by different nanostructures including 1D TiO2 nanotube, 1D TiO2 nanowire and 3D nanosheet-decorated TiO2 nanowire hierarchical structure were synthesized and compared. The oil-water separation results showed that the three membrane portrayed excellent oil-water separation ability due to the formation of water layers represented by their high water capture percentage (WCP). Studies from the self-cleaning experiment indicated that TSW (3D nanosheet-decorated TiO2 nanowire) membrane has the shortest time to self clean the oleic acid accumulated on its surface and simultaneously recovers its superhydrophilicity property. In addition, the results for photodegradation activity showed that 3D nanosheet-decorated TiO2 nanowire has the highest photodegradation efficiency amongst the investigated TiO2 nanostructures to eliminate intermediate organic compounds. This is attributed to its high light harvesting capacity resulting from the multiple reflections of incident light and superior electron collection properties due to the hierarchical structure. In sum, this study paves way for enhancing oil-water separation performance of other photocatalysts through the modification of its nanostructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-951
Number of pages10
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2015



  • Oil-water separation
  • Photodegradation
  • Superhydrophilic
  • TiO nanostructured membrane
  • Underwater superoleophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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