Membranes heavily rely on chlorination to diminish (bio)fouling, but chlorination can also lead to membrane degradation. We developed sulfonated polyaniline (S-PANI) ultrafiltration (UF) membranes with improved chlorine resistance and intrinsic antifouling properties. The S-PANI membranes were synthesized through Non-solvent Induced Phase Separation (NIPS). Membrane performance was evaluated under harsh chlorine conditions (250 ppm sodium hypochlorite for 3 days under different pH conditions). The S-PANI membranes showed improved chlorine resistance including a stable performance without changes in model foulant BSA rejection. In contrast, PANI membranes suffered critical structural damage with complete leakage and commercial PES membranes showed a 76% increase in pure water flux and a noticeable change in BSA rejection. Small changes in S-PANI membrane performance could be linked to membrane structural changes with pH, as confirmed by SEM, IR spectroscopy, and contact angle measurements. Additionally, the S-PANI membranes showed better antifouling properties with a high flux recovery ratio in comparison to PANI membranes using alginic acid, humic acid, and BSA model foulants. Chemical cleaning by sodium hypochlorite re-instated the transport properties to its initial condition. Overall, the developed S-PANI membranes have a high chlorine tolerance and enhanced antifouling properties making them promising for a range of UF membrane applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50756
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number31
Early online date26 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021


  • ageing
  • mechanical properties
  • membranes
  • separation techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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