Carbon quantum dots enabled tuning of the microphase structures of poly (ether-b-amide) membrane for CO2 separation

In this study, molecular-level of mixed matrix membranes are prepared by incorporating two types of carbon quantum dots (QDs), polymer-like QDs (PQD) and graphene oxide QDs (GQD) into Pebax, a poly (ether-b-amide) copolymer. PQD is shown to destroy part of the intrinsic crystalline structure of Pebax as typical fillers do. By comparison, GQD has fewer functional groups and causes an interesting enhancement of the microphase separation of Pebax. The polyether domains become more segregated and more available for the selective CO2 permeation. As a result, the gas separation performance of the membranes is evidently enhanced. GQD outperforms PQD as filler and the encouraging enhancement occurs at lower loading. The membrane with 0.05 wt% GQD loading shows the optimal gas separation property while it is 1 wt% for PQD-doped membranes. A possible mechanism is tentatively proposed based on the findings of this study.

Shi, F., Tian, Q., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Shi, F., Li, Y., & Nunes, S. P. (2020). Carbon quantum dots enabled tuning of the microphase structures of poly (ether-b-amide) membrane for CO2 separation. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. doi:10.1021/acs.iecr.0c03432

The study was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (21878277), Natural Science Foundation of Henan province (182300410268), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017T100538). We also gratefully acknowledge the financial supports from China Scholarship Council and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, as well as the instrument support from Center of Advanced Analysis & Computational Science, Zhengzhou University.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research


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