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A high-performance acid-resistant polyaniline based ultrafiltration membrane: Application in the production of aluminium sulfate powder from alumina sol
In this work, we report a new class of acid-resistant ultrafiltration membrane fabricated from polyaniline (PANI) based on its self-acid doping ability. The doped membrane was prepared by filtering the H2SO4 solution (pH = 0.55) through the PANI membrane at 2 bar. To critically assess the acid resistance, the resulting doped membrane was stored in H2SO4 solution (pH = 0.55) for one month. The chemical structure and separation performance of the membrane was not adversely affected by acid exposure. The membrane was also tested in realistic conditions through filtration of alumina sol synthesized in an extremely acidic H2SO4 solution. The results have shown that 99% recovery of the aluminium sulfate particles is possible with the doped PANI membrane as a result of the hydrophilic, relatively smooth, and antifouling surface created by acid doping. The membrane filtration did not change the size and size distribution of the particles in the sol. After filtration, concentrated particles were converted into powder form in 24 h at room temperature without using a dryer. The method proposed in this study is easy and robust and can be used to develop acid-resistant UF membranes not only for concentrating the alumina sol but also for recovering valuable compounds from acid-containing feeds.