Reduced graphene oxide as a water, carbon dioxide and oxygen barrier in plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) films†
Herein, we report the incorporation of a 10 μm thick reduced graphene oxide (RGO) barrier layer in a plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) film as the main constituent in ion-selective membranes used in potentiometric solid-contact ion-selective electrodes (SCISE). Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflection (FTIR-ATR) and oxygen transmission rate (OTR) measurements showed that the embedded RGO barrier efficiently impedes the diffusion of liquid water, carbon dioxide and oxygen (O2) through the 400 μm thick PVC film, which causes potential instability and irreproducibility of the SCISEs. The measurements revealed that the RGO layer completely blocks the carbon dioxide diffusion, while it fully blocks the water diffusion for 16 h and reduced the OTR by 85% on average. The μm-thick RGO films used in this study were easier to handle and incorporate into host polymers, and form more efficient and robust barriers compared to the mono-, few- and multilayer graphene commonly applied as barrier layers for liquids and gases. We also demonstrated that the FTIR-ATR technique employed in the permeability measurements is a versatile and very sensitive technique for studying the diffusion of small amounts of water and carbon dioxide through graphene-based thin films.