Layer-by-layer surface modification of polyethersulfone membranes using polyelectrolytes and AgCl/TiO<inf>2</inf> xerogels

Papatya Kaner, Daniel J. Johnson, Erol Seker, Nidal Hilal, Sacide Alsoy Altinkaya

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24 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly method was employed to modify a commercial polyethersulfone (PES) membrane by successive adsorption of chitosan and alginate as cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes. To enhance anti-biofouling property, pure, PEG mixed and PEGylated AgCl/TiO<inf>2</inf> xerogels were incorporated solely in the top layer of the LbL-modified membranes. Organic and biological foulings were addressed separately using alginate and Escherichia coli bacteria suspensions as the organic and biological model foulants, respectively. LbL-modifying the commercial PES membrane successively with chitosan and alginate polyelectrolyte multilayers prevented organic fouling extensively. In addition, we found that AgCl/TiO<inf>2</inf>-incorporated membranes show higher water permeability and improved resistance to biological fouling as compared to the PES membrane. Silver amounts in consecutively collected permeate samples were quantified by ICP-MS analysis to assess the stability of AgCl/TiO<inf>2</inf>-incorporated layers. Silver loss per filtration cycle followed an increasing trend initially, up to a filtration volume totaling 3000L/m<sup>2</sup>, leading to 4.2% reduction in the immobilized silver amount. After that, silver loss per filtration cycle stabilized at ~7.44μg/L, which extrapolates to ~265 days time-span for the remaining silver to be released at a filtration rate of ~1000L/m<sup>2</sup> h. Antibacterial activity tests showed that AgCl/TiO<inf>2</inf>-incorporated layers do not permit bacterial growth on the membrane surface.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Antifouling
  • Layer by layer assembly
  • Silver xerogel
  • Ultrafiltration membrane
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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