Seminari Gruppo Fisica della Materia

Graphene Oxide in membranes and composites: new approaches for water treatment technologies

by Dr Alessandro Kovtun (CNR-ISOF Bologna)

1/1-2 - Aula "C. Voci" (Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia - Edificio Marzolo)

1/1-2 - Aula "C. Voci"

Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia - Edificio Marzolo


The use of porous materials for adsorption of pollutants in wastewater treatment or water potabilization
plants is a fundamental step for water and environmental safety. The possible new pollutants are
constantly monitored [1] and in recent decades the Emerging Organic Contaminants (EOC, pharmaceuticals,
personal care products, plastic additives, etc..) has become an important challenge for adsorbent materials.
Among the nanomaterials studied for their potential use as adsorbents Graphene Oxide (GO) emerged due
to the high surface area and the unique chemistry, in fact, GO is a 2D material made of Carbon and Oxygen
(C/O is about 2), where the nanometer-large aromatic C sp 2 regions are enclosed by defective C-O groups
(epoxy, hydroxyl, carbonyl and carboxyl), forming an extremely variable surface with different adsorption
sites for different type of molecules.
In this talk I will show some example of application of GO water treatments obtained by CNR-ISOF and
some possible future development of this field. The results obtained on GO are compared with the
adsorbents currently used in water treatment technologies, such as Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), both
in equilibrium condition (adsorption Isotherms) as well as in lab and pilot scale treatment set-up (loading
curves). Moreover, GO properties can be tuned for outperform the GAC in adsorption kinetics [2] and in
maximum adsorption capacity for several EOC [3], open the possibility to use GO for specific and hard to
remove pollutants. Finally, I will show an example that involves Hybrid approaches which combine
adsorption and sieving [4], in particular, at CNR-ISOF we tested in pilot line scale the performance of
hollow fibres membranes produced by Polysulfone-GO blend [5] produced in collaboration with private

[1] F. Riva, Int. J. Hyg. Env. Health 221 (2018) 451–457
[2] F. Tunioli, Chemistry–A European Journal 29 (2023), e202301854
[3] F. Tunioli, Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 11 (2023) 109566
[4] A. Tagliavini, Membrane Technology 2021, 2021, 5-7
[5] M. Zambianchi, Journal of Membrane Science 658 (2022) 120707

Organized by

Alessandro Patelli