An International Double-Blind, Peer-Review Journal by NSTRI

Document Type : Research paper


1 Material and Nuclear Fuel Scholl, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, (NSTRI),

2 Caspian Faculty of Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran,P.O. Box 43841-119,Guilan

3 Caspian Faculty of Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 43841-119, Guilan

4 4Material and Nuclear Fuel Scholl, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, (NSTRI), P.O.Box. 11365-8486, Tehran, Iran

5 nstri

6 Radiation Application Research Scholl, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, (NSTRI), Karaj, Iran


In this study, the neat polyethersulfone (PES) membrane and the mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) containing 20 wt. %polyethersulfone (PES) and different amounts of functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (fMWCNTs), TiO2, and TiO2 coated on fMWCNTs were fabricated by wet phase inversion and conventional casting methods. The nickel ions rejection and permeate flux performance were then investigated and compared by these fabricated membranes. The characteristics of the membranes were performed by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), transmission
electron microscopy (TEM), and contact angle (CA) measurement. The operational parameters such as polymer concentration, pressure, pH, time and nickel ion concentration for nickel ions rejection and permeability were firstly optimized on the neat PES membrane. The performance of MMMs containing various amounts of nanoparticles was then evaluated and compared under these optimized conditions. The obtained results indicated that the membrane containing 20 wt. % PES, and operational conditions like pressure 15bar, low concentration of nickel, time =30min, and various amounts of pH were the best conditions to achieve the highest rejection percentage of nickel ions and permeate flux. In such operational conditions, PES/fMWCNTs and PES/TiO2 membranes have the highest nickel ion rejection and permeate flux, respectively. Totally the prepared mixed matrix membranes showed that they have higher ability to reject nickel ions from wastewater and a higher permeate flux value compared with the neat PES membrane.


1. C.F. Carolin et al. Efficient techniques for the removal of toxic heavy metals from aquatic environment: A review, J. Env. Chem. Eng. 5, 2782 (2017).

2. D.C. Ong et al. Removal of nickel ions from aqueous solutions by manganese dioxide derived from groundwater treatment sludge, J. Clean. Prod. 190, 443 (2018).

3.  H . Zhang et al. Study of 63Ni adsorption on NKF-6 zeolite, J. Env. Rad. 101, 1061 (2010).

4.  G.H. Lee, Rapid separation of nickel for 59Ni and 63Ni activity measurement in radioactive waste samples, J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 298, 1221(2013).

5.  F.C. Ballesteros et al. Removal of nickel by homogeneous granulation in a fluidized-bed reactor. Chemosphere 164, 59 (2016).

6.  N. Akhtar, J. Iqbal, and M. Iqbal, Removal and recovery of nickel(II) from aqueous solution by loofa sponge-immobilized biomass of Chlorella sorokiniana: characterization studies, J. Haz. Mat. 108, 85 (2004).

7.  World Health Organization, Background Document for Development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, 4nd ed. World Health Organization, Geneva, (2017)

8.  A. Kumar et al. Remediation of nickel ion from wastewater by applying various techniques: a review, Acta. Chem. Malaysia. 3, 1 (2019).

9.   R.N.R. Sulaiman, and N. Othman, Solvent extraction of nickel ions from electroless nickel plating wastewater using synergistic green binary mixture of D2EHPA-octanol D2EHPA-octanol System, J. Env. Chem. Eng. 6, 1814 (2018).

10. T.H. Tsai, H.W. Chou, Y.F. Wu, Removal of nickel from chemical plating waste solution through precipitation and production of microsized nickel hydroxide particles, Sep. Pur. Tech. 251, 117315 (2020).

11. T. Li et al. Efficient removal of nickel (II) from high salinity wastewater by a novel PAA/ZIF-8/PVDF hybrid ultrafiltration membrane, Wat. Res. 143, 87  (2018).

12.      S.M. Hosseini  et al.  Activated carbon nanoparticles entrapped mixed matrix polyethersulfone based nanofiltration membrane for sulfate and copper removal from water, J. Taiwan. Inst. Chem. Eng. 82, 169 (2017).

13. K. Kalantari et al. Rapid and high capacity adsorption of heavy metals byFe3O4/montmorillonite nanocomposite using response surface methodology, Chem. Eng. J. 304, 737  (2016).

14. D. Jiang et al. Removal of the heavy metal ion nickel ((I) via an adsorption method using flower globular magnesium hydroxide, J. Haz. Mat. 373, 131  (2019).

15. U. Ipek, Removal of Ni(II) and Zn(II) from an aqueous solution by reverse osmosis, Desalination, 174, 161  (2005).

16. Al-Rashdi, D.J. Johnson, and N. Hilal, Removal of heavy metal ions by nanofiltration, Desalination. 315, 2 (2013).

17. K. Sunil et al. Ti2O6 a mixed metal oxide based composite membrane: A unique membrane for removal of heavy metals, Chem. Eng. J. 348, 678 (2018).

18. A. Giwa, M. Ahmed, and S.W. Hasan, Polymeric Materials for Clean Water, 1nd ed. Springer (2019). 

19. A. Basile, A, Cassano, and N.K. Rastogi, Advances in membrane technologies for water treatment: materials, processes and applications, 1nd ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam (2015).

20. S.S. Hosseini et al. Fabrication, Tuning and optimization of polyacrilonitryle nanofiltration membranes for effective nickel and chromium removal from electroplating wastewater, Sep. Purif. Technol, 187, 46 (2017).

21. G. Wu et al. Preparation and characterization of PES/TiO2 composite membranes, Appl. Surf. Sci. 254, 7080 (2008).


22. T.S. Chung et al. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) comprising organic polymers with dispersed inorganic fillers for gas separation, Prog. Polym. Sci. 32, 483 (2007)

23.  Y. Zhao et al. Design of thin and tubular MOFs-polymer mixed matrix membranes for highly selective separation of H2 and CO2, Sep. Pur. Tech. 220, 197 (2019).

24.  M.S. Jyothi et al. Aminated Polysulfone/TiO2 Composite Membranes for an Effective Removal of Cr (VI). Chem. Eng. J. 283, 1494(2016).

25.    I. Genne, S. Kuypers, and R. Leysen, Effect of the addition of ZrO2 to polysulfone based UF membrane, J. Membr. Sci. 11, 343 (1996).

26. P.G. Balkanloo, M. Mahmoudian, and M.T. Hosseinzadeh, A comparative study between MMT-Fe3O4/PES, MMT-HBE/PES, and MMT-acid activated/PES mixed matrix membranes, Chem. Eng. J. 396, 125188(2020).

27.  T.S. Jamil et al. Novel anti fouling mixed matrix CeO2/Ce7O12 nanofiltration membranes for heavy metal uptake, J. Environ. Chem. Eng. 6, 3273 (2018).

28.   X.F. Sun et al. Graphene oxide-silver nanoparticle membrane for biofouling control and water purification, Chem. Eng. J. 281, 53  (2015).

29.   Y. Cai et al. Highly active MgO nanoparticles for simultaneous bacterial Inactivation and heavy metal removal from aqueous solution, Chem. Eng. J. 312, 158 (2017).

30. M.T. Pérez-Prior et al. Preparation and characterization of ammonium-functionalized polysulfone/Al2O3 composite membranes, J. Mater. Sci. 50, 5893  (2015).

31. A.L. Ahmad, M.A. Majid, and B.S. Ooi, Functionalized PSf/SiO2 nanocomposite membrane for oil-in-water emulsion separation, Desalination. 268, 266  (2011).

32.   V. Vatanpour et al. Fabrication and characterization of novel antifouling nanofiltration membrane prepared from oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotube/Polyethersulfone nanocomposite, J. Membr. Sci. 375, 284  (2011).

33. T.H. Bae, and T.M. Tak, Effect of TiO2 nanoparticles on fouling mitigation ofultrafiltration membranes for activated sludge filtration, J. Membr. Sci. 249, 1  (2005).

34. V. Vatanpour et al. Novel antibifouling nanofiltration polyethersulfone membrane fabricated from embedding TiO2 coated multiwalled carbon nanotubes, Sep. Pur. Tech. 90, 69 (2012).


35.   R. Yavari, N. Asadollahi, and M. Abbas Mohsen, Preparation, characterization and evaluation of a hybrid material based on multiwall carbon nanotubes and titanium dioxide for the removal of thorium from aqueous solution, Prog. Nucl. Eng. 100, 183 (2017).

36. R. Yavari, and R. Davarkhah, Application of modified multiwall carbon nanotubes as a sorbent for zirconium (IV) adsorption from aqueous solution, J. Radio. Nucl. Chem.  298, 835  (2013).

37.   V. Vatanpour et al. Fouling reduction and retention increment of polyethersulfone nano fi ltration membranes embedded by amine-functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes, J. Membr. Sci. 466, 70  (2014).

38. A. Nouri et al. Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes/Polyethersulfone Mixed Matrix Nanofiltration Membrane for the removal of cobalt ion, J. Wat. Environ. Nanotech. 4, 97  (2019).

39.  Y. Yang et al. The influence of nano-sized TiO2 fillers on the morphologies and properties of PSF UF membrane, J. Membr. Sci. 288, 231  (2007).

40.   Ismail AF, Goh PS,  Sanip SM,   Aziz M (2009) Transport and separation properties of carbon nanotube-mixed matrix membrane. Sep Puri Tech 70:12–26.

41. K. Mehiguene et al. Influence of operating conditions on the retention of copper  and cadmium in aqueous solutions by nanofiltration: experimental results and modeling, Sep. Puri. Tech. 15, 181 (1999).

42.   Z.V.P. Murthy, and L.B. Chaudhari, Application of nanofiltration for the rejection of nickel ions from aqueous solutions and estimation of membrane transport parameters, J.  Haz. Mat. 160, 70  (2008).

43.  C.V. Gherasim, and P. Mikulášek, Influence of operating variables on the removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions by nanofiltration, Desalination. 343, 67 (2014).

44.   P. Daraei et al. Fabrication of PES nanofiltration membrane by simultaneous use of multi-walled carbon nanotube and surface graft polymerizationmethod: Comparison of MWCNT and PAA modified MWCNT, Sep. Puri. Tech. 104, 32  (2013).

45.  B.A.M. Al-Rashdi, D.J. Johnson, and N. Hilal, Removal of heavy metal ions by nanofiltration, Desalination. 315, 2 (2013).