Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Membrane Science






School of Engineering




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : G1005399


Golgoli, M., Farahbakhsh, J., Asif, A. H., Khiadani, M., Razmjou, A., Johns, M. L., & Zargar, M. (2023). Harnessing the power of metal-organic frameworks to develop microplastic fouling resistant forward osmosis membranes. Journal of Membrane Science, 682, article 121766.


With the gradual increase of microplastics (MPs) in water and wastewater streams, it is imperative to investigate their removal using tertiary treatment systems to minimize and preferably prevent their entrance into aquatic environments. Forward osmosis (FO) is a non-pressurized membrane process with potential applications in MPs removal from wastewater. However, efficient application of FO systems relies on developing high-performance FO membranes with low fouling tendency. MPs are proven as emerging foulants in membrane systems, diminishing their performance and lifetime and this highlights the need to consider MP fouling in developing sustainable membranes. The current study focuses on a novel modification of thin film composite (TFC) FO membranes by MIL-53(Fe) as a water-stable and hydrophilic metal-organic framework. Experimental results demonstrated that the optimized FO membrane (0.2 wt% MIL-53(Fe)) achieved a significantly higher water flux (90% increase) with a 23% less reverse salt flux. The modified membrane also had significantly less flux decline in fouling experiments and higher flux recovery after physical cleaning compared to the control membrane affirming its higher antifouling efficiency. MIL-53(Fe) integration in the FO substrate proved to be a practical method for developing high-performance TFC FO membranes with improved antifouling properties against MPs and organic foulants.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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