• membranes;
  • composites;
  • properties and characterization


Flexible and porous epoxidised natural rubber (ENR)/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membranes were prepared via phase inversion technique. The pore formation on ENR/PVC membranes was initiated with the introduction of inorganic particles (silica). Two types of silica, microsilica (microcrystalline silica powder) and nanosilica [generated from Tetraethoxysilane (TEOS)] were used. Effects of silica addition on the membrane structure are investigated by means of FTIR, SEM, TGA, and UTM. FTIR results showed the presence of signature peak of Si[BOND]O[BOND]Si at 1102 and 1088 cm−1 for ENR/PVC/SiO2 and ENR/PVC/TEOS membrane, respectively. Morphological studies showed that pores developed in ENR/PVC/TEOS membranes were more homogenous as compared to ENR/PVC/SiO2 membranes. Thermal and mechanical stability of the membranes improved with the incorporation of silica. ENR/PVC/SiO2 membrane exhibited better mechanical and thermal properties as compared to ENR/PVC/TEOS membranes. CO2 and N2 gas permeation of silica-filled membranes increased with increasing silica content and the permeability of ENR/PVC/SiO2 membrane toward N2 and CO2 gasses was higher than ENR/PVC/TEOS membrane. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013