Polyaniline-Coated Carbon Nanotube Ultrafiltration Membranes: Enhanced Anodic Stability for in Situ Cleaning and Electro-Oxidation Processes

Wenyan Duan, Avner Ronen, Sharon Walker, David Jassby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Electrically conducting membranes (ECMs) have been reported to be efficient in fouling prevention and destruction of aqueous chemical compounds. In the current study, highly conductive and anodically stable composite polyaniline-carbon nanotube (PANI-CNT) ultrafiltration (UF) ECMs were fabricated through a process of electropolymerization of aniline on a CNT substrate under acidic conditions. The resulting PANI-CNT UF ECMs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, a four-point conductivity probe, cyclic voltammetry, and contact angle goniometry. The utilization of the PANI-CNT material led to significant advantages, including: (1) increased electrical conductivity by nearly an order of magnitude; (2) increased surface hydrophilicity while not impacting membrane selectivity or permeability; and (3) greatly improved stability under anodic conditions. The membrane's anodic stability was evaluated in a pH-controlled aqueous environment under a wide range of anodic potentials using a three-electrode cell. Results indicate a significantly reduced degradation rate in comparison to a CNT-poly(vinyl alcohol) ECM under high anodic potentials. Fouling experiments conducted with bovine serum albumin demonstrated the capacity of the PANI-CNT ECMs for in situ oxidative cleaning, with membrane flux restored to its initial value under an applied potential of 3 V. Additionally, a model organic compound (methylene blue) was electrochemically transformed at high efficiency (90%) in a single pass through the anodically charged ECM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22574-22584
Number of pages11
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number34
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • CNT
  • electro-oxidation
  • electroconductive
  • in situ cleaning
  • membrane
  • methylene blue
  • polyaniline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)


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