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Pionieering the preparation of porous PIM-1 membranes for enhanced water vapor flow

Veröffentlicht in der Zeitschrift RSC Advances

Autoren: Esra Caliskan, Sergey Shishatskiy, Volker Abetz, Volkan Filiz

In this study, porous polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-1) membranes were prepared by non-solvent induced phase inversion (NIPS) and investigated for water vapor transport in view of their application in membrane distillation (MD). Due to the lack of high boiling point solvents for PIM-1 that are also water miscible, the mixture of tetrahydrofuran (THF) and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) was found to be optimal for the formation of a membrane with a developed porous system both on the membrane surface and in the bulk. PIM-1 was synthesized by using low and high temperature methods to observe how molecular weight effects the membrane structure. Low molecular weight PIM-1 was produced at low temperatures, while high molecular weight PIM-1 was obtained at high temperatures. Several membranes were prepared, including PM-6, PM-9, and PM-11 from low molecular weight PIM-1, and PM-13 from high molecular weight PIM-1. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to image the surface and cross-section of different porous PIM-1 membranes. Among all the PIM-1 membranes (PM) obtained, PM-6, PM-9, PM-11 and PM-13 showed the most developed porous structure, while PM-13 showed large voids in the bulk of the membrane. Contact angle measurements showed that all PIM-1 porous membranes are highly hydrophobic. Liquid water flux measurements showed that PM-6, PM-9 and PM-11 showed minimal water fluxes due to small surface pore size, while PM-13 showed a high water flux due to a large surface pore size. Water vapor transport measurements showed high permeance values for all membranes, demonstrating the applicability of the developed membranes for MD. In addition, a thin film composite (TFC) membrane with PIM-1 selective layer was prepared and investigated for water vapor transport to compare with porous PIM-1 membranes. The TFC membrane showed an approximately 4-fold lower vapor permeance than porous membranes. Based on these results, we postulated that the use of porous PIM-1 membranes could be promising for MD due to their hydrophobic nature and the fact that the porous membranes allow vapor permeability through the membrane but not liquid water. The TFC membrane can be used in cases where the transfer of water-soluble contaminants must be absolutely avoided.

Volkan Filiz
Volkan Filiz


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