Highly dispersible polypyrrole nanospheres for advanced nanocomposite ultrafiltration membranes†
Highly dispersible polypyrrole (PPy) nanospheres were synthesized and used to produce polysulfone (PSf) nanocomposite ultrafiltration membranes by a non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) process. The composite networks formed between PPy and PSf lead to higher porosity, hydrophilicity, surface charge, thermal stability, and water permeability, but slightly lower protein rejection. Nanocomposite membranes containing up to 20% PPy nanospheres were >10 times more permeable than pure PSf membranes, while the bovine serum albumin (BSA) rejection decreased from 94 to 82%. With nanoscale pores, high porosity, improved hydrophilicity, and tunable surface charge properties, the PPy/PSf nanocomposite membranes hold great promise for advanced protein separation, dialysis, water filtration and other macro molecular separations.