Hyper-Cross-Linked Additives that Impede Aging and Enhance Permeability in Thin Polyacetylene Films for Organic Solvent Nanofiltration

Xiquan Cheng, Kristina Konstas, Cara M. Doherty, Colin Wood, Xavier Mulet, Zongli Xie, Derrick Ng, Matthew Hill, Lu Shao, Cher Hon Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Membrane materials with high permeability to solvents while rejecting dissolved contaminants are crucial to lowering the energy costs associated with liquid separations. However, the current lack of stable high-permeability materials require innovative engineering solutions to yield high-performance, thin membranes using stable polymers with low permeabilities. Poly[1 (trimethylsilyl)-1-propyne] (PTMSP) is one of the most permeable polymers but is extremely susceptible to physical aging.
Despite recent developments in anti-aging polymer membranes, this research breakthrough has yet to be demonstrated on thin PTMSP films supported on porous polymer substrates, a crucial step toward commercializing anti-aging membranes for industrial applications. Here we report the development of scalable, thin film nanocomposite membranes supported on polymer substrates that are resistant to physical aging while having high permeabilities to alcohols. The selective layer is made up of PTMSP and nanoporous polymeric additives. The nanoporous additives provide additional passageways to solvents, enhancing the high permeability of the PTMSP materials further. Through intercalation of polyacetylene chains into the sub-nm pores of organic additives, physical aging in the consequent was significantly hindered in continuous long-term operation. Remarkably we also demonstrate that the additives enhance both membrane permeability and rejection of dissolved contaminants across the membranes, as ethanol permeability at 5.5 × 10−6 L m m−2 h−1 bar−1 with 93% Rose Bengal (1017.6 g mol−1) rejection, drastically outperforming commercial and state-of-the-art membranes. These membranes can replace energy-intensive separation processes such as distillation, lowering operation costs in well-established pharmaceutical production processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Early online date4 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • organic solvent nanofiltration
  • physical aging
  • porous aromatic frameworks
  • hypercrosslinked polymers
  • solvent treatment


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