Nanoscale research letters

Gas Transport Properties of Polybenzimidazole and Poly(Phenylene Oxide) Mixed Matrix Membranes Incorporated with PDA-Functionalised Titanate Nanotubes.

PMID 28050877


Functionalised titanate nanotubes (TiNTs) were incorporated to poly(5,5-bisbenzimidazole-2,2-diyl-1,3-phenylene) (PBI) or poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO) for improving the interfacial compatibility between the polymer matrix and inorganic material and for altering the gas separation performance of the neat polymer membranes. Functionalisation consisted in oxidative polymerisation of dopamine-hydrochloride on the surface of non-functionalised TiNTs. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirmed that a thin polydopamine (PDA) layer was created on the surface of TiNTs. 1.5, 3, 6, and 9 wt.% of PDA-functionalised TiNTs (PDA-TiNTs) were dispersed to each type of polymer matrix to create so-called mixed matrix membranes (MMMs). Infrared spectroscopy confirmed that -OH and -NH groups exist on the surface of PDA-TiNTs and that the nanotubes interact via H-bonding with PBI but not with PPO. The distribution of PDA-TiNTs in the MMMs was to some extent uniform as scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies showed. Beyond, PDA-TiNTs exhibit positive effect on gas transport properties, resulting in increased selectivities of MMMs. The addition of nanotubes caused a decrease in permeabilities but an increase in selectivities. It is shown that 9xa0wt.% of PDA-TiNTs in PBI gave a rise to CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 selectivities of 112 and 63xa0%, respectively. In case of PPO-PDA-TiNT MMMs, CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 selectivity increased about 25 and 17xa0%, respectively. Sorption measurement showed that the presence of PDA-TiNTs in PBI caused an increase in CO2 sorption, whereas the influence on other gases is less noticeable.