In this work, antifouling hybrid ultrafiltration membranes were manufactured using polysulfone (PSf)
and sulfonic acid functionalized TiO2 nanotubes (TNTs-SO3H). TNTs-SO3H were first synthesized by performing
a coupling reaction between 3-mercaptopropyl trimethoxysilane and hydroxyl groups on TiO2
nanotubes with in situ oxidation using 30 wt% H2O2 solution. Hybrid membranes containing TNTsSO3H
up to 5 wt% were then prepared from the blend solutions of PSf/TNTs-SO3H via a non-solvent
induced phase separation (NIPS) method. The hybrid membranes were characterized using contact angle,
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and surface zeta potential studies.
The antifouling capability of hybrid membranes with bovine serum albumin and humic acid (HA) as
model foulants were investigated in detail. Hybrid membranes exhibited better water permeability
and antifouling performance during filtration of foulant solutions. The ultrafiltration of HA solutions of
different concentrations was carried out at pH = 7 and 1 bar feed pressure, with the removal of HA fromaqueous solution being controlled through the charged behaviour, porosity and exclusion of HA by hybrid
membranes. The maximum removal of HA from 20 ppm aqueous solution was achieved using the hybrid
membrane MTS-5 containing 5 wt% TNTs-SO3H.