Titanium dioxide-modified polyetherimide nanofiber membrane for water treatment

Buthayna Al-Ghafri, Woei Jye Lau*, Mohammed Al-Abri, Pei Sean Goh, Ahmad Fauzi Ismail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The main objective of this work is to fabricate and characterize a new type of nanocomposite nanofiber membrane by incorporating photocatalytic nanomaterials – titanium dioxide (TiO2) into a highly porous nanofiber made of UV-resistant polyetherimide (PEI). The nanofiber membrane was fabricated via an electrospinning method using a dope solution containing 15 wt% PEI dissolved in a mixed solvent of dimethylformamide (DMF)/n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). The resultant PEI nanofiber membrane was further modified by coating its surface with TiO2 (0.2 and 0.6 wt%) using electrospraying method. The properties of the TiO2-modified PEI nanofiber membranes were then analysed using scanning electron microscope (SEM), water contact angle (WCA) goniometer and tensile strength machine. Results showed that 0.2 wt% TiO2-modified PEI nanofiber displayed better behaviour by reducing WCA of unmodified nanofiber from 130.25° to 23.35° and improving water flux by 28%. Although the WCA of membrane was further reduced when a higher TiO2 amount (0.6 wt%) was used, the resultant nanofiber suffered from decreased ultimate strength and significant nanoparticles leaching. Using the best performing 0.2% TiO2-modified PEI membrane, significant removal rate of Escherichia coli (99%) and humic acid (∼80%) could be achieved along with 85% methylene blue degradation during photocatalytic process. The findings of this work provide an insight into the design of advanced nanocomposite nanofiber membrane for photocatalytic process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100970
JournalJournal of Water Process Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Degradation
  • E. coli
  • Polyetherimide
  • Titanium dioxide
  • UV-resistant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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