Title

Strain-Induced Nanocavitation in Block Copolymer Thin Films for High Performance Filtration Membranes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-13-2021

School

Polymer Science and Engineering

Abstract

A new pore formation process was investigated for the manufacture of composite ultrafiltration membranes. Phase-separated block copolymer (BCP) thin films supported on a compliant macroporous poly(ether sulfone) (PES) support craze under tensile strain, leaving behind pores of predictable size based on the self-assembled nanoscopic domains. The high aspect ratio pores formed in this process were used to create membranes that were highly permeable (959 L/(m2 h bar) with near complete rejection of 40 nm diameter gold nanoparticles (AuNP). By use of BCP’s inherent ability to cavitate under strain, tedious block removal steps are avoided. Membranes can thus be prepared in a simple, roll-to-roll ready, one-step process. In this initial study, BCP craze formation and filtration performance were characterized for various polymer types, molecular weights, and thicknesses. All these factors influenced the BCP’s thin film morphology, mechanical performance, deformation mechanism, and ultimately filtration performance. This work demonstrates a possible new path toward achieving scalable, BCP-based ultrafiltration membranes.

Publication Title

ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Volume

3

Issue

11

First Page

5666

Last Page

5673

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