Hyperbranched polymer integrated membrane for the removal of arsenic(III) in water

D. E. Vlotman, J. C. Ngila, T. Ndlovu, S. P. Malinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This work demonstrates the synthesis, characterization and application of a hyperbranched polyethyleneimine/polysulfone (HPEI/PSf) thin film composite (TFC) membrane. The membrane was accessed via an interfacial polymerization of trimesoyl chloride and HPEI. The membrane samples were characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared-Attenuated Total Reflectance (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Contact angle and streaming potential measurements were used to measure the wettability and study the surface chemistry of the TFC membranes, respectively. Water flux and rejection studies were performed using a dead-end filtration cell system operated at 600 kPa. The binding affinity of the fabricated membranes to abstract As(III) from synthetic and spiked tap water samples was assessed. FTIR-ATR spectra illustrated that a polyamide film was successfully deposited onto the commercial PSf membrane. AFM analysis revealed that the surface roughness of the membranes increased from 13.9 nm to 140.0 nm upon HPEI loading. Contact angle measurements indicated an increase in the hydrophilicity from 86.95° for pristine PSf to 39.97° for the HPEI modified membranes. Generally, the HPEI/PSf membranes showed a high water uptake (up to 96.6±0.76%) as compared to the pristine PSf membranes (up to 53.5±0.7%). The hyperbranched polymer integrated membranes exhibited high As(III) retention of 78% and 55% for synthetic water and spiked tap water samples, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • As(III)
  • Hyperbranched polyethyleneimine
  • Interfacial polymerization
  • Polysulfone membrane
  • Thin film composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Filtration and Separation


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