In this work, we describe multifunctional, crumpled graphene oxide (CGO) porous nanocomposites that are assembled as advanced, reactive water treatment membranes. Crumpled 3D graphene oxide based materials fundamentally differ from 2D flat graphene oxide analogues in that they are highly aggregation and compression-resistant (i.e., π-π stacking resistant) and allow for the incorporation (wrapping) of other, multifunctional particles inside the 3D, composite structure. Here, assemblies of nanoscale, monomeric CGO with encapsulated (as a quasi core-shell structure) TiO2 (GOTI) and Ag (GOAg) nanoparticles, not only allow high water flux via vertically tortuous nanochannels (achieving water flux of 246 ± 11 L/(m2·h·bar) with 5.4 μm thick assembly, 7.4 g/m2), outperforming comparable commercial ultrafiltration membranes, but also demonstrate excellent separation efficiencies for model organic and biological foulants. Further, multifunctionality is demonstrated through the in situ photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange (MO), as a model organic, under fast flow conditions (tres < 0.1 s); while superior antimicrobial properties, evaluated with GOAg, are observed for both biofilm (contact) and suspended growth scenarios (>3 log effective removal, Escherichia coli). This is the first demonstration of 3D, crumpled graphene oxide based nanocomposite structures applied specifically as (re)active membrane assemblies and highlights the materials platform potential for a truly tailored approach for next generation water treatment and separation technologies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry