3D Printed Fouling-Resistant Composite Membranes

Saeed Mazinani, Abouther Al-Shimmery, Yong-Min Chew, Davide Mattia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (SciVal)
114 Downloads (Pure)


Fouling remains a long-standing unsolved problem that hinders the widespread use of membrane applications in industry. This article reports the use of numerical simulations coupled with extensive material synthesis and characterization to fabricate fouling-resistant 3D printed composite membranes. The membranes consist of a thin polyethersulfone selective layer deposited onto a 3D printed flat and double sinusoidal (wavy) support. Fouling and cleaning of the composite membranes were tested by using bovine serum albumin solution in a cross-flow ultrafiltration setup. The transmembrane pressure was regulated at 1 bar and the cross-flow Reynolds number (Re) varied between 400 and 1000. In comparison to the flat membrane, the wavy membrane showed superior performance in terms of pure water permeance (PWP) (10% higher) and permeance recovery ratio (87% vs 53%) after the first filtration cycle at Re = 1000. Prolong testing showed that the wavy membrane could retain approximately 87% of its initial PWP after 10 complete filtration cycles. This impressive fouling-resistant behavior is attributed to the localized fluid turbulence induced by the 3D printed wavy structure. These results show that not only the lifetime of membrane operations could be favorably extended but also the operational costs and environmental damage of membrane-based processes could also be significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26373-26383
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number29
Early online date25 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019


  • 3D printing
  • bovine serum albumin
  • polyethersulfone
  • turbulence
  • wavy composite membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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