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Keywords:

  • additives;
  • phase separation;
  • morphology;
  • thermodynamics;
  • kinetics

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of PEG additive on the structure formation and permeation properties of membranes. The membranes were prepared from a bromomethylated poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide)/chlorobenzene/ethanol system using the phase inversion method with PEG as an additive. As expected, PEG with a fixed molecular weight (e.g., PEG 600) acted as a pore-forming agent, and membrane porosity increased as the PEG content of the casting solution increased. However, when the PEG content was fixed, the effect of PEG on the membrane properties and morphology was largely dependent on its molecular weight. It was found that when the molecular weight of PEG was less than 800, it acted as a pore former, but when the molecular weight of PEG was more than 1000, the pore size and porosity of the resulting membrane decreased. These results can be explained by the membrane-forming system's thermodynamic and kinetic properties, which can be assessed by coagulation value and viscosity. Furthermore, the membranes were characterized for pure water flux and rejection of solute and by SEM observation. The filtration results agreed well with the SEM observations. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 98: 2414–2421, 2005