The water purification robustness of metal-organic framework-polyamide nanocomposite thin films toward long term organic, inorganic, and bacterial contamination
Forward osmosis (FO) is an osmotically driven process widely studied for water desalination, wastewater treatment, and water reuse, as well as dilution and concentration of aqueous streams. However, its application is still hampered by the lack of ideal draw solutes, high-performance membranes, and fouling/biofouling. Biofouling is particularly challenging when FO is applied for seawater desalination and wastewater treatment. Over the last decade, many attempts have been made to exploit advances in materials science to obtain membranes with anti-biofouling properties to prevent or to reduce the detrimental effects of this phenomenon. In this study, a polyamide FO membrane was functionalized with silver-based metal organic frameworks (Ag-MOFs) to improve its antibacterial and antifouling properties. The project has been carried out in three different phases using different types of Ag-MOFs with and without additives, with various fabrication methods for modification of the polyamide layer. All the membranes were fully characterized to confirm the successful functionalization of membranes. The results demonstrate that Ag-MOFs are robust antibacterial nanoparticles that can reduce membrane biofouling and organic fouling and stabilize long term water flux.