ZIF-8@PBI-BuI composite membranes: elegant effects of PBI structural variations on gas permeation performance†
The composites of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and polymers look promising as membrane materials for gas separation, provided benefits of both the components can be shown successfully. This work shows that the structural architecture of polybenzimidazole (PBI) is highly advantageous in offering attractive gas permeation properties of its composites with MOFs. PBI-BuI and its N-substituted (methyl and 4-tert-butylbenzyl) derivatives were blended with ZIF-8. In general, homogeneous blend formation of ZIF-8 was achieved with all three polymers, as supported by SEM. Wide angle X-ray diffraction, mechanical property analysis and density measurements of the composite membranes were performed in order to understand the effects of physical blending of MOFs and polymers. Gas permeability analysis of the composite membranes revealed that the properties of MOFs as well as those of polymers arising from their structural architecture are responsible for governing the permeability and selectivity of the resulting composites.