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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 247471, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/247471
Research Article

Electrospun Carbon Nanofiber Membranes for Filtration of Nanoparticles from Water

LEITAT Technological Center, C/de la Innovació 2, 08225 Terrassa, Spain

Received 13 October 2014; Accepted 12 December 2014

Academic Editor: Fujuan Liu

Copyright © 2015 Mirko Faccini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Nowadays, hundreds of consumer products contain metal and metal oxide nanoparticles (NP); this increases the probability of such particles to be released to natural waters generating a potential risk to human health and the environment. This paper presents the development of efficient carboneous nanofibrous membranes for NP filtration from aqueous solutions. Free-standing carbon nanofiber (CNF) mats with different fiber size distribution ranging from 126 to 554 nm in diameter were produced by electrospinning of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor solution followed by thermal treatment. Moreover, tetraethoxyorthosilicate was added to provide flexibility and increase the specific surface area of the CNF. The resulting membranes are bendable and mechanically strong enough to withstand filtration under pressure or vacuum. The experimental results of filtration revealed that the fabricated membranes could efficiently reject nanoparticles of different types (Au, Ag, and TiO2) and size (from 10 to 100 nm in diameter) from aqueous solutions. It is worth mentioning that the removal of Ag NP with diameters as small as 10 nm was close to 100% with an extremely high flux of 47620 L m−2 h−1 bar−1.