Porous UHMWPE Membranes and Composites Filled with Carbon Nanotubes: Permeability, Mechanical, and Electrical Properties
AbstractApplication of electric fields as a mechanism against membrane fouling is an emerging cleaning process for membranes. Sintering of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene powder particles decorated with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) is performed to produce electrically conductive porous filtration membranes. The contact of the molten particle surfaces leads to their fusion through neck formation during sintering. As the MWCNT only cover the surface of the powder particles, they form a conductive network with a high number of inter-MWCNT contacts in pathways through the polymer matrix. Membranes with an electrical conductivity of 0.9 S m−1 at a MWCNT concentration of 5.0 wt% are prepared. Additionally, a comparison of sintered and compression molded samples shows that after the heating interval, crystallization during cooling strongly influences the formation of the MWCNT network. The study reveals that electrically conductive, porous polymer membranes for microfiltration applications can be prepared using a solvent-free process.