An innovative hydrophilic and anti-fouling coating material for application in membrane technology forwaste water treatment has been developed by polymerization of a polymerizable bicontinuous micro-emulsion (PBM)and used for surface modification of a commercial flat polyethersulfone(PES)membrane. The novel nanostructured coating has been produced using acryloyloxyundecyl triethylam-monium bromide(AUTEAB)as a co-polymerizable surfactant,obtained through a synthetic methodcharacterized by a lower cost and a higher reproducibility compared to other known polymerizablesurfactants. The novel composite membranes have been characterized and compared with the uncoatedPES membranes. Coated membranes resulted in a smoother surface and a higher hydrophilicity withrespect to the uncoated ones,and showed a particular nano-size channel-like morphology making themhighly resistant to the fouling phenomenon.The covalent anchorage of the surfactant on the membranesurface ensured the embedment of the molecule in the polymeric matrix avoiding its leachig and alsoleading the coated membranes to have significant antimicrobial activity, which is very important forreducing the biofouling phenomenon.All these aspects made the tailored coating material an ideal and efficient coating for modifications ofcommercial membrane surfaces,to be used in membrane processes in waste water treatment.
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