Extending the stability of polymeric membranes in organic solvents is important for applications in chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Thin-film composite membranes with enhanced solvent permeance are proposed, using porphyrin as a building block. Hybrid polyamide films are formed by interfacial polymerization of 5,10,15,20-(tetra-4-aminophenyl)porphyrin/m-phenylene diamine (MPD) mixtures with trimesoyl chloride. Porphyrin is a non-planar molecule, containing a heterocyclic tetrapyrrole unit. Its incorporation into a polyamide film leads to higher free volume than that of a standard polyamide film. Polyamide films derived from porphyrin and MPD amines with a fixed total amine concentration of 1wt% and various porphyrin/MPD ratios were fabricated and characterized. The porphyrin/MPD polyamide film was complexed with Cu(II), due to the binding capacity of porphyrin to metal ions. By coupling scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), Cu mapping was obtained, revealing the distribution of porphyrin in the interfacial polymerized layer. By using porphyrin as amine-functionalized monomer a membrane with thin selective skin and enhanced solvent transport is obtained, with good dye selectivity in the nanofiltration range. For instance, an ultra-fast hexane permeance, 40-fold increased, was confirmed when using 0.5/0.5 porphyrin/MPD mixtures, instead of only MPD as amine monomer. A rejection of 94.2% Brilliant Blue R (826g/mol) in methanol was measured.
Sutisna, Burhannudin; Polymeropoulos, Georgios; Mygiakis, E.; Musteata, Valentina-Elena; Peinemann, Klaus-Viktor; Smilgies, D. M.; Hadjichristidis, Nikolaos; Nunes, Suzana Pereira(Polym. Chem., Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2016-09-05)[Article]
A poly(styrene-b-tert-butoxystyrene-b-styrene) copolymer was synthesized by anionic polymerization and hydrolyzed to poly(styrene-b-4-hydroxystyrene-b-styrene). Lamellar morphology was confirmed in the bulk after annealing. Membranes were fabricated by self-assembly of the hydrolyzed copolymer in solution, followed by water induced phase separation. A high density of pores of 4 to 5 nm diameter led to a water permeance of 40 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 and molecular weight cut-off around 8 kg mol−1. The morphology was controlled by tuning the polymer concentration, evaporation time, and the addition of imidazole and pyridine to stabilize the terpolymer micelles in the casting solution via hydrogen bond complexes. Transmission electron microscopy of the membrane cross-sections confirmed the formation of channels with hydroxyl groups beneficial for hydrogen-bond forming sites. The morphology evolution was investigated by time-resolved grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering experiments. The membrane channels reject polyethylene glycol with a molecular size of 10 kg mol−1, but are permeable to proteins, such as lysozyme (14.3 kg mol−1) and cytochrome c (12.4 kg mol−1), due to the right balance of hydrogen bond interactions along the channels, electrostatic attraction, as well as the right pore sizes. Our results demonstrate that artificial channels can be designed for protein transport via block copolymer self-assembly using classical methods of membrane preparation.
Sutisna, Burhannudin; Polymeropoulos, Georgios; Musteata, Valentina-Elena; Peinemann, Klaus-Viktor; Avgeropoulos, Apostolos; Smilgies, Detlef-M.; Hadjichristidis, Nikolaos; Nunes, Suzana Pereira(Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2016-05-18)[Article]
Block copolymer self-assembly and non-solvent induced phase separation are now being combined to fabricate membranes with narrow pore size distribution and high porosity. The method has the potential to be used with a broad range of tailor-made block copolymers to control functionality and selectivity for specific separations. However, the extension of this process to any new copolymer is challenging and time consuming, due to the complex interplay of influencing parameters, such as solvent composition, polymer molecular weights, casting solution concentration, and evaporation time. We propose here an effective method for designing new block copolymer membranes. The method consists of predetermining a trend line for the preparation of isoporous membranes, obtained by computing solvent properties, interactions and copolymer block sizes for a set of successful systems and using it as a guide to select the preparation conditions for new membranes. We applied the method to membranes based on poly(styrene-b-ethylene oxide) diblocks and extended it to newly synthesized poly(styrene-b-2-vinyl pyridine-b-ethylene oxide) (PS-b-P2VP-b-PEO) terpolymers. The trend line method can be generally applied to other new systems and is expected to dramatically shorten the path of isoporous membrane manufacture. The PS-b-P2VP-b-PEO membrane formation was investigated by in situ Grazing Incident Small Angle X-ray Scattering (GISAXS), which revealed a hexagonal micelle order with domain spacing clearly correlated to the membrane interpore distances.
Villalobos, Luis Francisco; Chisca, Stefan; Cheng, Hong; Hong, Pei-Ying; Nunes, Suzana Pereira; Peinemann, Klaus-Viktor(RSC Adv., Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2016-05-06)[Article]
Scalable fabrication strategies to concentrate biocidal materials in only the surface of membranes are highly desirable. In this letter, tight-UF polytriazole membranes with a high concentration of biocide silver chloride (AgCl) crystals dispersed in only their top layer are presented. They were made following a simple dual-bath process that is compatible with current commercial membrane casting facilities. These membranes can achieve a 150-fold increase in their antimicrobial character compared to their silver-free counterpart. Moreover, fine-tuning of their properties is straightforward. A change in the silver concentration in one of the baths is enough to tune the permeance, molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) and silver loading of the final membrane.
Biofouling impedes the performance of membrane bioreactors. In this study, we investigated the antifouling effects of polysulfone membranes that were modified by 1,2,3-triazole and palladium (Pd) nanoparticles. The modified membranes were evaluated for antibacterial and antifouling efficacy in a monoculture species biofilm (i.e., drip flow biofilm reactor, DFR) and mixed species biofilm experiment (i.e., aerobic membrane reactor, AeMBR). 1,2,3-triazole and Pd nanoparticles inhibited growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The decrease in bacterial growth was observed along with a decrease in the amount of total polysaccharide within the monoculture species biofilm matrix. When the modified membranes were connected to AeMBR, the increase in transmembrane pressure was lower than that of the non-modified membranes. This was accompanied by a decrease in protein and polysaccharide concentrations within the mixed species biofilm matrix. Biomass amount in the biofilm layer was also lower in the presence of modified membranes, and there was no detrimental effect on the performance of the reactor as evaluated from the nutrient removal rates. 16S rRNA analysis further attributed the delay in membrane fouling to the decrease in relative abundance of selected bacterial groups. These observations collectively point to a lower fouling occurrence achieved by the modified membranes.
Hilke, Roland; Neelakanda, Pradeep; Behzad, Ali Reza; Nunes, Suzana Pereira; Peinemann, Klaus-Viktor(Journal of Membrane Science, Elsevier BV, 2014-12)[Article]
We manufactured the first time block copolymer dual-layer hollow fiber membranes and dual layer flat sheet membranes manufactured by double solution casting and phase inversion in water. The support porous layer was based on polystyrene and the selective layer with isopores was formed by micelle assembly of polystyrene-. b-poly-4-vinyl pyridine. The dual layers had an excellent interfacial adhesion and pore interconnectivity. The dual membranes showed pH response behavior like single layer block copolymer membranes with a low flux for pH values less than 3, a fast increase between pH4 and pH6 and a constant high flux level for pH values above 7. The dry/wet spinning process was optimized to produce dual layer hollow fiber membranes with polystyrene internal support layer and a shell block copolymer selective layer.
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