Composite Fluorocarbon Membranes by Surface-Initiated Polymerization

Tuesday, October 18, 2011: 10:10 AM
L100 B (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Carlos A. Escobar, A. Ridzanoel Zulkifli and G. Kane Jennings, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

This presentation describes the fabrication and characterization of a novel composite membrane that consists of two types of nanoporous materials, namely, nanoporous gold leaf (NPGL) and nanoporous alumina, and a selective poly(perfluorohexyl norbornene) (pNBF6) polymer.  Integration of the three materials is achieved by means of silane and thiol chemistry, and the use of surface-initiated ring-opening metathesis polymerization (SI–ROMP).  The former two provide functionalization of the nanoporous substrates, and the latter promotes the generation of the polymer film within and atop of the alumina-NPGL membrane.  The synthetic process is versatile in that simultaneous or selective growth of the polymer film in each nanoporous layer is straightforward.  The use of SI–ROMP allows tailoring of the extent of polymerization of pNBF6 throughout the structure by varying polymerization time.  Advancing contact angle measurements show that the surface of these composite membranes exhibits both hydrophobic and oleophobic behavior.  Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images indicate that the thin polymer films cover the porous substrates entirely.  Results from electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) confirm that the membranes provide effective barriers to aqueous ions and that sulfonation of the polymer backbone substantially enhances ion transport through the composite membrane.  Ion transport and selectivity of the membrane change by regulating the polymerization time.  The fluorinated nature of the polymer thin film renders the membrane selective towards molecules with similar chemical characteristics.

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See more of this Session: Polymer Thin Films and Interfaces I
See more of this Group/Topical: Materials Engineering and Sciences Division