Polyacrylonitrile Nanofiber Membrane Water Purification

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Polyacrylonitrile Nanofiber Membrane Water Purification ( polyacrylonitrile-nanofiber-membrane-water-purification )

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polymers Article Polyacrylonitrile Nanofiber Membrane Modified with Ag/GO Composite for Water Purification System Wongi Jang 1,†, Jaehan Yun 2,† , Yejun Park 1, In Kee Park 1 , Hongsik Byun 3,* and Chang Hyun Lee 1,* 1 2 3 * Correspondence: hsbyun@kmu.ac.kr (H.B.); chlee@dankook.ac.kr (C.H.L.) † These authors equally contributed to this work. Received: 31 August 2020; Accepted: 19 October 2020; Published: 22 October 2020 Department of Energy Engineering, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea; wjang@dankook.ac.kr (W.J.); kddyejun@gmail.com (Y.P.); inkee0149@gmail.com (I.K.P.) Department of Chemistry, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4160, USA; jyun12@ilstu.edu Department of Chemical Engineering, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Korea Abstract: Silver nanoparticle-modified graphene oxide (Ag/GO) was reliably prepared by using sodium borohydride (NaBH4) in the presence of citric acid capping agent via a simple wet chemistry method. This rapidly formed Ag/GO composite exhibited good dispersity in a solution containing hydrophilic polyacrylonitrile (PAN). Subsequent electrospinning of this precursor solution resulted in the successful formation of nanofibers without any notable defects. The Ag/GO-incorporated PAN nanofibers showed thinner fiber strands (544 ± 82 nm) compared to those of GO-PAN (688 ± 177 nm) and bare-PAN (656 ± 59 nm). Subsequent thermal treatment of nanofibers resulted in the preparation of thin membranes to possess the desired pore property and outstanding wettability. The Ag/GO-PAN nanofiber membrane also showed 30% higher water flux value (390 LMH) than that of bare-PAN (300 LMH) for possible microfiltration (MF) application. In addition, the resulting Ag/GO-PAN nanofiber membrane exhibited antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive). Furthermore, this composite membrane exhibited outstanding anti-fouling property compared to the GO-PAN nanofiber membrane in the wastewater treatment. Therefore, the simple modification strategy allows for the effective formation of Ag/GO composite as a filler that can be reliably incorporated into polymer nanofiber membranes to possess improved overall properties for wastewater treatment applications. Keywords: silver nanoparticle; graphene oxide; nanocomposite; polymeric nanofiber; antibacterial; water treatment 1. Introduction Since the development of electrospun nanofibers, their potential applications have been expanded into various areas of research, such as biomedicine, energy, and environmental science [1–7]. Specifically, the electrospinning method, as a unique approach to prepare polymer nanofibers, has received great attention by virtue of its easy scale-up and high production rate with controlled structure [7–9]. A membrane designed from the resulting electrospun nanofibers can exhibit various features, including large specific surface area, high porosity, tunable pore size, and high permeability, which can ideally serve as a promising candidate as membrane-based filters for water treatment applications [10–12]. To obtain desired properties (e.g., pore size, porosity, pore distribution, etc.) for water filtration, diverse electrospinning conditions including process parameters (e.g., applied voltage, flow rate, tip-to collector distance) and environmental parameters (humidity and temperature) should be properly optimized via trial and error [12,13]. The numerous composite nanofiber membranes with nanomaterials have 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Polymers 2020, 12, 2441; doi:10.3390/polym12112441 www.mdpi.com/journal/polymers

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