Setting the Stage for Fabrication of Self-Assembled Structures in Compact Geometries: Inside-Out Isoporous Hollow Fiber Membranes


Fabrication of evaporation-induced self-assembled structures on easily accessible surfaces is an established strategy, while achieving such microphase-separated structures in compact geometries has been a long-standing goal. The requirement of comparatively less concentrated block copolymer (BCP) solution to pass through the compact geometries significantly reduces the stimulations required for self-assembly. The high polymer relaxation rates and decreased thermodynamic driving forces, as well as high capillary suction of dilute solutions in the porous substrates, complicates the BCP self-assembly and fabrication of the uniform coated layer, respectively. In this study, highly permeable robust poly(ether sulfone) hollow fiber membranes (PES HFM) with an inner diameter of approximately 1 mm are selected as compact geometries, and the isoporous structures are developed on top of ≤10 μm thin coated layer. This fabrication process introduces a technologically favored inside-out configuration for isoporous composite HFM with large bore diameters.
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