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High Flux Thin Film Nanocomposite Membranes Based on Metal–Organic Frameworks for Organic Solvent Nanofiltration

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journal contribution
posted on 18.02.2016, 16:57 by Sara Sorribas, Patricia Gorgojo, Carlos Téllez, Joaquín Coronas, Andrew G. Livingston
Thin-film nanocomposite membranes containing a range of 50–150 nm metal–organic framework (MOF) nanoparticles [ZIF-8, MIL-53­(Al), NH2-MIL-53­(Al) and MIL-101­(Cr)] in a polyamide (PA) thin film layer were synthesized via in situ interfacial polymerization on top of cross-linked polyimide porous supports. MOF nanoparticles were homogeneously dispersed in the organic phase containing trimesoyl chloride prior to the interfacial reaction, and their subsequent presence in the PA layer formed was inferred by a combination of contact angle measurements, FT-IR spectroscopy, SEM, EDX, XPS, and TEM. Membrane performance in organic solvent nanofiltration was evaluated on the basis of methanol (MeOH) and tetrahydrofuran (THF) permeances and rejection of styrene oligomers (PS). The effect of different post-treatments and MOF loadings on the membrane performance was also investigated. MeOH and THF permeance increased when MOFs were embedded into the PA layer, whereas the rejection remained higher than 90% (molecular weight cutoff of less than 232 and 295 g·mol–1 for MeOH and THF, respectively) in all membranes. Moreover, permeance enhancement increased with increasing pore size and porosity of the MOF used as filler. The incorporation of nanosized MIL-101­(Cr), with the largest pore size of 3.4 nm, led to an exceptional increase in permeance, from 1.5 to 3.9 and from 1.7 to 11.1 L·m–2·h–1·bar–1 for MeOH/PS and THF/PS, respectively.