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Issue 16, 2020
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Controllable synthesis of a chemically stable molecular sieving nanofilm for highly efficient organic solvent nanofiltration

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Abstract

Membranes with versatile separation capacity and strong chemical resistance are necessary for organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN). Here, a molecular sieving nanofilm with Janus pore structures was synthesized by introducing alkyl (–CH2–) moieties into the hydrophilic cross-linked polyamide network. In situ interfacial polymerization between m-xylylenediamine (m-XDA) and trimesoyl chloride (TMC) monomers was manipulated on a solvent-resistant nanofibrous hydrogel substrate. By varying monomer concentrations, thin film composite (TFC) OSN membranes were achieved with tuneable nanofilm thickness and hydrophobicity. Janus pathways in the m-XDA/TMC molecular sieving nanofilm contribute to a high solvent permeability for both polar and non-polar solvents; for example, for acetone the permeability is 8.2–54.5 L m−2 h−1 bar−1, for n-hexane 0.6–2.6 L m−2 h−1 bar−1, and for toluene 4.2 L m−2 h−1 bar−1. The composite membrane revealed a molecular weight cut-off of 242–327 g mol−1 in both acetone and methanol. Moreover, the membrane exhibited chemical and structural stability after immersing it in both strongly acidic or strongly basic environments for 15 days. This outstanding chemical stability, combined with the excellent permeability and selectivity, makes the m-XDA/TMC composite membrane a promising candidate for versatile OSN applications in polar and non-polar solvents as well as under extreme conditions.

Graphical abstract: Controllable synthesis of a chemically stable molecular sieving nanofilm for highly efficient organic solvent nanofiltration

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Jan 2020
Accepted
08 Apr 2020
First published
08 Apr 2020

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2020,11, 4263-4271
Article type
Edge Article

Controllable synthesis of a chemically stable molecular sieving nanofilm for highly efficient organic solvent nanofiltration

Y. Li, S. Li, J. Zhu, A. Volodine and B. Van der Bruggen, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 4263
DOI: 10.1039/D0SC00056F

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