Ultraselective Pebax Membranes Enabled by Templated Microphase Separation
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© 2018 American Chemical Society. Block copolymer materials have been considered as promising candidates to fabricate gas separation membranes. This microphase separation affects the polymer chain packing density and molecular separation efficiency. Here, we demonstrate a method to template microphase separation within a thin composite Pebax membrane, through the controllable self-assembly of one-dimensional halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) within the thin film via the solution-casting technique. Crystallization of the polyamide component is induced at the HNT surface, guiding subsequent crystal growth around the tubular structure. The resultant composite membrane possesses an ultrahigh selectivity (up to 290) for the CO2/N2 gas pair, together with a moderate CO2 permeability (80.4 barrer), being the highest selectivity recorded for Pebax-based membranes, and it easily surpasses the Robeson upper bound. The templated microphase separation concept is further demonstrated with the nanocomposite hollow fiber gas separation membranes, showing its effectiveness of promoting gas selectivity.
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