Iranian researchers from Babol University of Technology succeeded in the production of antibacterial and biofouling-resistant polymeric membranes by using nanotechnology.
The thin film nanofiltration membranes have been produced by using silver nanoparticles. In addition to their antibacterial properties, the membranes are resistant to biofouling and therefore, they can be widely used in water and wastewater purification industry.
Biofouling decreases the performance of the system in water purification equipment. The problem has a greater effect on the purification of seawater. Therefore, the strengthening the membrane structure against bacteria can reduce maintenance cost.
Polymerization in the interface of the aqueous monomer of m-phenylenediamine and the organic monomer of trimesoyl chloride is the common method to produce the thin layer nanofiltration membranes. In this research, silver nanoparticles were deposited on the base membranes before the polymerization of the two monomers.
The transference of silver nanoparticles and their movement to the inner layer of the membrane are among the most important characteristics of the produced membranes. In addition, the membranes synthesized through the new method have smoother surface in comparison with the membranes synthesized through the common method. Both samples showed promising results in biofouling investigation test. Moreover, studies on the release of silver showed that nanoparticles stay longer in the structure of the nanofilters synthesized through the new method.
Results of the research showed an increase in the performance of the membrane and 100% decrease in biofouling. These properties happen due to the release of nanoparticles or ions caused by nanoparticles on the surface of the membrane or in the media to prevent the sticking of the bacteria to the surface.
Results of the research have been published on 17 May 2013 in Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research, vol. 29, pp. 537-548.