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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Aug 13;6(15):13051-60. doi: 10.1021/am502936x. Epub 2014 Aug 5.

Enhanced CO2 permeability of membranes by incorporating polyzwitterion@CNT composite particles into polyimide matrix.

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Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin) , Tianjin 300072, China.


In this study, polyzwitterion is introduced into a CO2 separation membrane. Composite particles of polyzwitterion coated carbon nanotubes (SBMA@CNT) are prepared via a precipitation polymerization method. Hybrid membranes are fabricated by incorporating SBMA@CNT in polyimide matrix and utilized for CO2 separation. The prepared composite particles and hybrid membranes are characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with element mapping, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and an electronic tensile machine. Water uptake and water state of membranes are measured to probe the relationship among water uptake, water state and CO2 transport behavior. Hybrid membranes show significantly enhanced CO2 permeability compared to an unfilled polyimide membrane at a humidified state. A hybrid membrane with 5 wt % SBMA@CNT exhibits the maximum CO2 permeability of 103 Barrer with a CO2/CH4 selectivity of 36. The increase of CO2 permeability is attributed to the incorporation of the SBMA@CNT composite particles. First, SBMA@CNT form interconnected channels for CO2 transport due to the facilitated transport effect of the quaternary ammonium in repeat unit of pSBMA. Second, SBMA@CNT improve water uptake and adjust water state of membrane, which further increases CO2 permeability. Meanwhile, the variation of CO2/CH4 selectivity is dependent on the bound water portion in the membrane. A gas permeation test at a dry state and a pressure test are conducted to further probe the membrane separation performance.


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