3 years ago

Enhancing water flux through semipermeable polybenzimidazole membranes by adding surfactant-treated CNTs

Enhancing water flux through semipermeable polybenzimidazole membranes by adding surfactant-treated CNTs
Hidetoshi Matsumoto, Bunshi Fugetsu, Motohiro Aiba, Shaoling Zhang, Tuguldur Davaajargal, Minoru Ashizawa, Shuji Tsuruoka, Shuichi Akasaka
In this study, surfactant-treated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were incorporated into polybenzimidazole (PBI) matrix to prepare the PBI/CNT composite membranes with CNT content in the range of 0 to 15 wt %. The composite membranes were fabricated by spin-coating. The membrane morphology, mechanical property, and water and salt transport properties were investigated to characterize the additive effect of CNTs. The tensile strength of all the PBI/CNT composite membranes was lower than that of pristine PBI membrane, indicating the weak interaction between CNT and PBI. In addition, water flux increased without reducing the salt rejection when CNTs were homogeneously dispersed in the PBI matrix at a less than 7.5 wt % content. On the other hand, at 10 wt % and higher CNT content, submicro-scaled cellular structure was formed, and both the water flux and salt rejection decreased. The well-dispersed CNTs in the PBI matrix via weak interaction preferentially improve the water permeability by 1.7 times without depressing the salt rejection. The incorporation of well-dispersed CNTs in polymer matrix provides a promising and facile option for improvement in the water transport properties through the polymeric semipermeable membranes with intrinsically low water permeability such as PBI. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2017, 135, 45875.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/app.45875

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