Use of Organic Binders to Enhance Defluoridation and Pathogen Removal Efficiency of Diatomaceous Earth-Based Ceramic Filters

  • Mary Taabu Simiyu Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
  • Francis Wanjala Nyongesa Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
  • Bernard O. Aduda Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
  • Zephaniah Birech Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
  • Godwin Mwebaze Makerere University, College of Engineering Design Art and Technology, Uganda
  • Alex Ogacho Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
  • Gloria K. Maitha Department of Physics, University of Nairobi
Keywords: Diatomaceous Earth, Organic Binder, Mechanical Strength, Filtration, Defluoridation


The use of diatomaceous earth, DE, ceramic membranes in water purification has been in existence for centuries. However, the DE-based membranes are brittle, ineffective in the defluoridation, and disinfection of water. The aim of this work is to improve the mechanical strength, water defluoridation, and filtration efficiency of DE-based ceramic membrane using organic binders; Abelmoschus esculentus, Aloe vera, and Basella alba. The ceramic membranes were fabricated from DE-powder and plant-based organic binders with a ratio of 2:1 by mass. The dried samples were fired at 700.0 to 1150.0 °C. The fabricated membranes were then made to filter water contaminated with Escherichia coli, Rotavirus, and sodium fluoride. The results showed the DE-powder was characterized by 87.5%; 4.0% and 89.6; 2.9% silica and aluminum oxides for DE-A and DE-B respectively. Basella alba binder showed the highest content of organic matter and formed the strongest membranes with the highest efficiency. Basella alba was able to improve the modulus of rupture, defluoridation, and virus removal efficiency of the DE-B membranes by 84.8%, 30.9%, and 40.3% respectively. DE-B-powder plus Basella alba are potential materials in ceramic membranes as they were able to defluoridate by 89.2% and remove Rotavirus by 98.3% from water.