Fabrication of membranes of polyethersulfone and poly(N ‐vinyl pyrrolidone): influence of glycerol on processing and transport properties


In this study, we focus on membranes of polyethersulfone and poly(N ‐vinyl pyrrolidone) and elucidate the influence of composition on the rheological, diffusion and precipitation properties of solutions which are used for membrane preparation via a non‐solvent‐induced phase separation process. The low‐molar‐mass component of the solution is a mixture of the solvent N ‐methyl‐2‐pyrrolidone and the non‐solvent glycerol. Cloud point, viscosity and diffusion measurements as well as precipitation experiments were performed in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the time dependence of the precipitation process. The addition of glycerol yields an increase of viscosity and a stronger tendency for demixing. The enhanced tendency for demixing causes a more rapid precipitation process. The average relaxation time of the solution as a function of glycerol concentration follows a similar trend to its viscosity. The increase of viscosity is associated with the increase of the monomeric friction coefficient. Two diffusive processes with clearly separated time scales appear in dynamic light scattering experiments in the presence of glycerol. This phenomenon is discussed taking into account the phase behaviour of the solution and the quality of the solvent. The addition of glycerol yields a lower pure water permeance whereas the molecular weight cut‐off is not altered in the ultrafiltration range. © 2020 The Authors. Polymer International published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.
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