Electrospun biodegradable bi-layered microfiber membranes for aluminum removal from drinking water

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Aims: This study aimed to eliminate metallic contaminants from drinking water by using electrospun bi-layered microfiber membranes. Background: Fast industrialization triggers environmental pollution. Heavy metals like silver, lead and aluminum are the major contaminants that are extremely toxic and accumulate in biological tissues through the food chain and cause a health hazard. Electrospinning is a promising technique among other conventional techniques of removing these metals from drinking water. Electrospun membranes possess suitable properties for microfiltration purposes. In this study, to fabricate electrospun membranes, polycaprolactone (PCL) and zeolites were used as materials. PCL polymer is biocompatible and biodegradable, and zeolite is microporous, which is good for filtration or molecular sieving application. Method: Using the electrospinning technique, PCL, PCL/zeolite, PCL and PCL/zeolite bi-layered electrospun membranes were fabricated. The properties of the membranes were evaluated using different techniques. The performance of the membranes was tested by filtering Aluminum (Al) present in drinking water. Results: Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyses confirmed the removal of Al using the membranes. ICP-OES results showed more than 90% of Al removal using PCL and PCL/zeolite electrospun membranes. Conclusion: These membranes are non-toxic and biodegradable and have the potential to be used for microfiltration purposes.

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