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Design of Aminopolymer Structure to Enhance Performance and Stability of CO2 Sorbents: Poly(propyl­enimine) vs Poly(ethyl­enimine)

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journal contribution
posted on 28.02.2017, 00:00 by Simon H. Pang, Li-Chen Lee, Miles A. Sakwa-Novak, Ryan P. Lively, Christopher W. Jones
Studies on aminopolymer/oxide composite materials for direct CO2 capture from air have often focused on the prototypical poly­(ethylenimine) (PEI) as the aminopolymer. However, it is known that PEI will oxidatively degrade at elevated temperatures. This degradation has been ascribed to the presence of secondary amines, which, when oxidized, lose their CO2 capture capacity. Here, we demonstrate the use of small molecule poly­(propyl­enimine) (PPI) in linear and dendritic architectures supported in silica as adsorbent materials for direct CO2 capture from air. Regardless of amine loading or aminopolymer architecture, the PPI-based sorbents are found to be more efficient for CO2 capture than PEI-based sorbents. Moreover, PPI is found to be more resistant to oxidative degradation than PEI, even while containing secondary amines, as supported by FTIR, NMR, and ESI-MS studies. These results suggest that PPI-based CO2 sorbents may allow for longer sorbent working lifetimes due to an increased tolerance to sorbent regeneration conditions and suggest that the presence of secondary amines may not mean that all aminopolymers will oxidatively degrade.