Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Isabel Escobar


Ultrafiltration (UF) processes are often used as pretreatment before more retentive/costly processes, such as nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. This study shows the results of low-biofouling nanocomposite membranes, loaded with casein-coated silver nanoparticles (casein-Ag-NPs). Membranes were cast and imbedded with Ag-NPs using two approaches, physical blending of Ag-NPs in the dope solution (PAg-NP/CA membranes) and chemical attachment of Ag-NPs to cast membranes (CAg-NP/CA membranes), to determine their biofouling control properties. The functionalization of Ag-NPs onto the CA membranes was achieved via attachment with functionalized thiol groups with the use of glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and cysteamine chemistries. The immobilization chemistry successfully prevented leaching of silver nanoparticles during cross-flow studies. Pseudomonas fluorescens Migula in brackish water was used for short-term dead-end filtration, where CA and CAg-NP/CA membranes displayed lower flux declines as compared to PAg-NP/CA membranes. In subsequent long-term biofouling studies, also with Pseudomonas fluorescens Migula in brackish water with addition of sodium acetate, chemically-attached Ag-NPs led to a significant reduction in the accumulation of bacterial cells, likely due to the more dispersed nanoparticles across the surface. Therefore, a method was developed to chemically immobilize Ag-NPs to membranes without losing Ag-NP’s antimicrobial properties.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)