Toxic metal ion separation by cellulose acetate/sulfonated poly(ether imide) blend membranes: effect of polymer composition and additive.
ABSTRACT Toxic heavy metal ion removal from industrial effluents are gaining increased visibility owing to environmental concern and saving precious materials. In this work, an attempt has been made to remove the valuable metal ions using modified ultrafiltration (UF) blend membranes based on cellulose acetate (CA) and sulfonated poly(ether imide) (SPEI) were prepared in the presence and absence of additive, poly(ethylene glycol) 600 (PEG600) in various compositions. Prepared membranes were characterized in terms of pure water flux (PWF), water content and membrane hydraulic resistance. High flux UF membranes were obtained in the range of 15-25 wt% SPEI and 2.5-10 wt% PEG600 in the polymer blend. The molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of the blend membranes were determined using protein separation studies found to vary from 20 to greater than 69 kDa. Surface morphology of the blend membranes were analysed with scanning electron microscopy. Studies were carried out to find the rejection and permeate flux of metal ions such as Cu(II), Ni(II), Zn(II) and Cd(II) using polyethyleneimine as the chelating ligand. On increasing the composition of SPEI and PEG600, the rejection of metal ions is decreasing while the permeate flux has an increasing trend. These effects are due to the increased pore formation in the CA/SPEI blend membranes because of the hydrophilic SPEI and polymeric additive PEG600. In general, it was found that CA/SPEI blend membranes displayed higher permeate flux and lower rejection compared to pure CA membranes. The extent of separation of metal ions depends on the affinity of metal ions to polyethyleneimine to form macromolecular complexes and the stability of the formed complexes.