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Issue 9, 2017
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Flexible thermally treated 3D PIM-CD molecular sieve membranes exceeding the upper bound line for propylene/propane separation

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Abstract

Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM) incorporated with beta-cyclodextrin (β-CD) (referred to as PIM-CD) are prepared via nucleophilic substitution copolymerization and then thermally treated at elevated temperatures from 300 to 600 °C. After the decomposition of thermally labile CD, the spaces originally occupied by CD convert to micro-pores and cross-linking points in the polymer matrix. The thermally induced three-dimensional (3D) cross-linking network not only possesses ultra-fine micro-pores and interconnected microvoids but also shows a superior molecular sieve ability for propylene/propane separation. The C3H6/C3H8 selectivity of the thermally treated membranes increases remarkably, about 3 times compared to that of the original untreated membranes. In particular, the PIM-CD membranes thermally treated at 300 or 400 °C are flexible, and they have C3H6/C3H8 separation performance exceeding the upper bound line in both pure and mixed gas tests. As observed from the gas sorption isotherms, membranes with a higher content of CD units have a higher gas sorption capacity. Additionally, the diffusivity selectivity of PIM-CD membranes after thermal treatment increases more quickly than that of the PIM membrane and contributes more to the permeability selectivity.

Graphical abstract: Flexible thermally treated 3D PIM-CD molecular sieve membranes exceeding the upper bound line for propylene/propane separation

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Nov 2016, accepted on 28 Jan 2017 and first published on 28 Jan 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6TA09751K
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 4583-4595
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Flexible thermally treated 3D PIM-CD molecular sieve membranes exceeding the upper bound line for propylene/propane separation

    J. Liu, Y. Xiao and T. Chung, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 4583
    DOI: 10.1039/C6TA09751K

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