Porous rGO/networked cellulose composite membranes: Towards enhanced nanofiltration performance of rGO-based membranes

Shabin Mohammed, Jamaliah Aburabie, Haya Nassrullah, Raed Hashaikeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graphene-based materials have been widely used for the fabrication of superior separation membranes for water treatment and purification. In particular, reduced graphene oxide (rGO), which has better water stability than graphene oxide (GO), has been demonstrated to be a good building block. However, rGO laminates are characterized by narrow interlayer spacing leading to dense packing and consequently lower flux limiting their direct utilization for membrane development. In this study, we report the fabrication of networked cellulose (NC)/porous rGO composite membranes with enhanced separation performance. We observed a synergistic effect due to the incorporation of NC and the presence of nano-pores on the rGO sheets. Firstly, in addition to the enhanced hydrophilicity and mechanical stability, the presence of NC with networked fibers reduced the horizontal transport resistance within the interlayer channels due to the formation of voids and wrinkles. Secondly, in-plane pores created by H2O2 oxidation of GO effectively contributed to additional transport channels providing shortened transport length for water molecules. Results showed that composite membranes maintained stable long-term performance with a pure water permeance up to 25.1 ± 2.2 Lm−2h−1bar−1 and salt rejection of 70.2 %, 63.08 %, 17.13 % and 25.62 %, for Na2SO4, MgSO4, MgCl2 and NaCl respectively. Unlike many previously reported rGO membranes that rely on ultra-thin selective layers, this work demonstrates an effective strategy for fabricating superior rGO membranes for water treatment and desalination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100682
JournalMaterials Today Sustainability
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Cellulose nanofibers
  • Graphene oxide
  • Intercalation
  • Membrane
  • Nanofiltration
  • Networked cellulose
  • Porous nanosheets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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