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Issue 40, 2020
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Polyelectrolytes self-assembly: versatile membrane fabrication strategy

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Polyelectrolytes self-assembly is developing rapidly as a fascinating family of functional membrane fabrication strategies with the ability to modulate the architectures and physical–chemical characteristics of membranes at the molecular level. Research on polyelectrolytes self-assembly is motivated by the flexible choice of functional groups and processing technologies as well as the synergy of the charge and nanostructure control, thus allowing extensive applications of polyelectrolytes-based functional membranes for precise separation. Herein, an account of recent advances in the design and performance evaluation of polyelectrolytes self-assembled membranes is provided. First, the rational selection of polyelectrolytes is outlined, with a focus on selection criteria and structure–performance relationship, which are crucial factors for membrane fabrication. Then, the different design strategies of polyelectrolytes self-assembled membranes are introduced, comprising well-established and newly emerging methods. Next, the separation-related applications so far pursued by polyelectrolytes self-assembled membranes are itemized, covering gas separation and liquid separation. Their potential utility targeting on challenging separation fields such as decontamination, organic micropollutants removal, and resources recovery, is emphatically highlighted. Looking forward, exploiting the high flexibility and feasibility of certain polyelectrolytes self-assembly techniques is put into perspective for niche applications that are not easily achievable by other polymers. Overall, critical insights are provided for the materials science and membrane communities to navigate better exploring the potential of polyelectrolytes self-assembly for developing advanced functional membranes.

Graphical abstract: Polyelectrolytes self-assembly: versatile membrane fabrication strategy

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Article information

22 Jul 2020
01 Oct 2020
First published
02 Oct 2020

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020,8, 20870-20896
Article type
Review Article

Polyelectrolytes self-assembly: versatile membrane fabrication strategy

X. Li, C. Liu and B. Van der Bruggen, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, 8, 20870
DOI: 10.1039/D0TA07154D

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