The scarcity of drinking water and the contamination of water sources in underdeveloped countries are serious problems that require immediate low-tech and low-cost solutions. In this study, we fabricated polyacrylonitrile (PAN) porous membranes coated with silver nanoparticles (AgNP) and demonstrated their use for water filtration and water treatment applications. The membranes were prepared by electrospinning a PAN solution and treating in a hydroxylamine (NH2
OH) aqueous solution to form –C(NH2
)N–OH groups that were used for functionalization (Ag+
ions) of the membrane. The coordinated silver ions were then converted to silver nanoparticles. The microstructure of the membrane, water permeability, antimicrobial effect (using Escherichia coli
), and particulate filtration capabilities were studied. This study verified that the membrane demonstrated a 100% reduction for Gram-negative bacteria with an effective filtration rate of 8.0 mL/cm2
min. Furthermore, the membrane was able to eliminate 60% of latex beads as small as 50 nm and over 80% of the 2 µm beads via gravity filtration. This study demonstrated that PAN–AgNP membranes can be employed as antimicrobial membranes for the filtration of water in underdeveloped countries.
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