The design of a porous membrane support layer derived from cocontinuous polymer blends is presented. We investigate the effect of blend composition, shear rate, residence time, and annealing time on the cocontinuous morphology of polyethylene (PE)/poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) blends. Porous PE sheets were generated by water extraction of PEO and used as a support layer for gas separation membranes. The PE/PEO blends using nonfunctional and maleic anhydride functional PE (PE-g-MA) were mixed in a batch microcompounder and in a pilot plant scale corotating twin-screw extruder. Using PE-g-MA resulted in pore size reduction from 10 to 2 μm and suppression of coarsening of the morphology during further annealing of the blends due to formation of PE-PEO graft copolymers. Equilibrium interfacial tension, estimated by fitting the rheology of droplet blends to the Palierne viscoelastic droplet model, was 3 and 0.4 mN/m for PE/PEO and PE-g-MA/PEO systems, respectively. The specific interfacial area and phase size distribution were calculated from 3D images acquired by laser scanning electron microscopy (LSCM). We prepared gas separation membranes by solvent casting an acetone solution of ionic gel into porous PE sheets and discussed the effect of type of processing, average pore size, pore size distribution, and pore wall functionality on their performance.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Aug 14 2012|