Abstract

Nanofibers of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/boehmite were prepared by electrospinning a homogeneous solution of PAN/DMF. Enhancing the amount of boehmite nanoparticles (NPs) led to increase in the nanofibers' diameter. Samples had high pure water flux, which did not change significantly with boehmite concentration, but decreased with increasing electrospinning duration. Escherichia coli bacteria removal was remarkably more efficient, as it was enhanced from 72.33% to 97.37% with increase in the boehmite NPs' concentration from 0 to 10% wt. High bacterial removal efficiency could be attained by the large surface area of NPs, as well as the electrostatic force of attraction between NPs and microorganisms. The increase in boehmite concentration from 10 to 30 and 50% did not noticeably affect bacterial removal. Prolonging electrospinning time significantly enhanced bacteria removal. Hence, it was shown that 6-hour electrospinning of PAN/boehmite nanofiber layers composed of 50% boehmite led to 99.7%, 99.39%, 99.8%, and 74% E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria removal, particles' separation efficiency of 2 μm and cadmium adsorptivity, respectively, which were better than those obtained by using pure PAN nanofibers. E. coli bacterial removal efficiency of the sample was increased to 99.99% by repeating filtering four times. Considering the results, this PAN/boehmite nanofibers' membrane has potential application to purification of drinking water.

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