Characterisation of nanofiltration membranes using atomic force microscopy

Nidal Hilal, H. Al-Zoubi, N. A. Darwish, A. W. Mohammad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to characterize five commercial nanofiltration (NF) membranes from three companies. High-resolution 3D images of the membranes were obtained without preparative treatment that may affect the membrane surface. Obtained images have been filtered to overcome the effect of tip convolution and the noises. Two sizes of the images were obtained 2 μm × 2 μm and small sizes. The first images were used to find the surface morphology data such as average roughness, mean height, root mean square (RMS), and maximum peak-to-valley. The small size images showing visible pores were used to determine the pore size and pore size distributions, which were used to calculate porosity of membranes. A fitted line using lognormal distributions was used to represent the pore size distribution of the nanofiltration membranes. The results show that the lognormal distribution is fitted well with AFM experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 20 2005


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Nanofiltration membranes
  • Pore size distribution
  • Surface morphology
  • Tip convolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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