Reduced graphene oxide-metal nanoparticle composite membranes for environmental separation and chloro-organic remediation

Ashish Aher, Samuel Thompson, Trisha Nickerson, Lindell Ormsbee, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study explores the integration of separation performance of rGO membrane with heterogeneous oxidation reactions for remediation of organic contaminants from water. Herein, an approach was introduced based on layer-by-layer assembly for functionalizing rGO membranes with polyacrylic acid and then by in situ synthesis of Fe based reactive nanoparticles. TEM characterization of the cross-section lamella of the membranes showed a high density of nanoparticles (12% Fe) in the functionalized domain, signifying the importance of polyacrylic acid for in situ synthesis of nanoparticles. The membranes exhibited a pure water permeability of 1.9 LMH bar-1. The membranes had low to moderate salt retention, and more than 90% neutral red retention (organic probe molecule, size: 1.2 nm). The membranes also exhibited high retention of humic acids (80%), preventing these organics from entering the reactive domain, and thus potentially reducing the formation of undesired by-products. A persulfate mediated oxidative pathway was employed to demonstrate the reactive removal of organic contaminants. The membranes achieved >95% conversion by convectively passing 2 mM persulfate feed at a transmembrane pressure of 0.4 bar. Successful degradation of TCE (up to 61%) was achieved in a single pass by convective flowing of the feed solution through the membrane, generating up to 80% of the theoretical maximum chloride as one of the byproducts. Elevated temperatures significantly enhanced persulfate mediated TCE oxidation extent from 24% at 23 °C to 54% at 40 °C under batch operating conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38547-38557
Number of pages11
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number66
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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