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Multicomponent nanostructured materials for separation membranes

Final Report Summary - COMPOSE (Multicomponent nanostructured materials for separation membranes)

The COMPOSE project aimed to develop novel nanostructured materials in order to form separation membranes which would regulate the flux of substances and would exhibit selective permeability. Two classes of materials would be developed, namely nanostructured organic or inorganic hybrid materials as well as nanostructured self-organised materials.

Nanostructured hybrid materials refer to inorganic particles incorporated in polymeric materials or mixed matrix membranes and they have been manufactured especially for selective gas separation. For example, membranes which consisted of commercial polyacetylenes (PTMSP) and incorporated nanoparticles exhibited very high permeability, especially in the butane/methane gas mixture the selectivity has been increased by forty per cent. Nanoparticles have also been combined with other polymers such as cellulose-based polymers. The project, also, focussed on manufacturing composite membranes comprising porous acrylonitrile support. Concerning the mixed matrix membranes, a layer-by-layer process allowed the preparation of aligned flakes in a matrix of Polydimenthylsiloxane (PDMS) rubber which led to extraordinary high selectivity in the gas mixture of helium / nitrogen or hydrogen / nitrogen.

Concerning self-organised structures, thin films of self-organising block copolymers have been developed on top of microporous support membranes. Moreover, the project focussed on the combination of self-assembly and classical membrane formation by means of the non-solvent phase separation technique, thereby forming an integral asymmetric membrane structure with a high-order self-assembly top-layer on a porous non-ordered support layer.