Functionalized carbon nanotubes mixed matrix membranes of polymers of intrinsic microporosity for gas separation


The present work reports on the gas transport behavior of mixed matrix membranes (MMM) which were prepared from multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and dispersed within polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM)-1 matrix. The MWCNTs were chemically functionalized with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) for a better dispersion in the polymer matrix. MMM-incorporating functionalized MWCNTs (f-MWCNTs) were fabricated by dip-coating method using microporous polyacrylonitrile membrane as a support and were characterized for gas separation performance. Gas permeation measurements show that MMM incorporated with pristine or functionalized MWCNTs exhibited improved gas separation performance compared to pure PIM-1. The f-MWCNTs MMM show better performance in terms of permeance and selectivity in comparison to pristine MWCNTs. The gas permeances of the derived MMM are increased to approximately 50% without sacrificing the selectivity at 2 wt.% of f-MWCNTs' loading. The PEG groups on the MWCNTs have strong interaction with CO2 which increases the solubility of polar gas and limit the solubility of nonpolar gas, which is advantageous for CO2/N2 selectivity. The addition of f-MWCNTs inside the polymer matrix also improved the long-term gas transport stability of MMM in comparison with PIM-1. The high permeance, selectivity, and long term stability of the fabricated MMM suggest that the reported approach can be utilized in practical gas separation technology.
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