Enhanced Degradation of Methyl Orange and Trichloroethylene with PNIPAm-PMMA-Fe/Pd-Functionalized Hollow Fiber Membranes

Rollie Mills, Cameron Tvrdik, Andrew Lin, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a prominent groundwater pollutant due to its stability, widespread contamination, and negative health effects upon human exposure; thus, an immense need exists for enhanced environmental remediation techniques. Temperature-responsive domains and catalyst incorporation in membrane domains bring significant advantages for toxic organic decontamination. In this study, hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) were functionalized with stimuli-responsive poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAm), poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA), and catalytic zero-valent iron/palladium (Fe/Pd) for heightened reductive degradation of such pollutants, utilizing methyl orange (MO) as a model compound. By utilizing PNIPAm’s transition from hydrophilic to hydrophobic expression above the LCST of 32 °C, increased pollutant diffusion and adsorption to the catalyst active sites were achieved. PNIPAm-PMMA hydrogels exhibited 11.5× and 10.8× higher equilibrium adsorption values for MO and TCE, respectively, when transitioning from 23 °C to 40 °C. With dip-coated PNIPAm-PMMA-functionalized HFMs (weight gain: ~15%) containing Fe/Pd nanoparticles (dp~34.8 nm), surface area-normalized rate constants for batch degradation were determined, resulting in a 30% and 420% increase in degradation efficiency above 32 °C for MO and TCE, respectively, due to enhanced sorption on the hydrophobic PNIPAm domain. Overall, with functionalized membranes containing superior surface area-to-volume ratios and enhanced sorption sites, efficient treatment of high-volume contaminated water can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2041
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • PNIPAm
  • bimetallic catalysts
  • hollow fiber membrane
  • methyl orange
  • thermoresponsive
  • trichloroethylene
  • water detoxification
  • zero-valent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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