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Preparation and characterization of poly(vinyl chloride)/polystyrene/poly(ethylene glycol) hollow-fiber ultrafiltration membranes

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ABSTRACT

Hollow-fiber ultrafiltration (UF) membranes were prepared from blends of poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and polystyrene (PS) with a dry/wet phase inversion method. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and N,N-dimethylacetamide were used as the additive and solvent, respectively. The effects of the PEG concentration in the dope solution as an additive on the cross sections and inner and outer surface morphologies, permeability, and separation performance of the hollow fibers were examined. The mean pore size, pore size distribution, and mean roughness of both the inner and outer surfaces of the produced hollow fibers were determined by atomic force microscopy. Also, the mechanical properties of the hollow-fiber membranes were investigated. UF experiments were conducted with aqueous solutions of poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP; K-90, Mw = 360 kDa). From the results, we found that the PVC/PS hollow-fiber membranes had two layers with a fingerlike structure. These two layers were changed from a wide and long to a thin and short morphology with increasing PEG concentration. A novel and until now undescribed shape of the nodules in the outer surfaces, which was denoted as a sea-waves shape, was observed. The outer and inner pore sizes both increased with increasing PEG concentration. The water permeation flux of the hollow fibers increased from 104 to 367 L m−2 h−1 bar−1) at higher PEG concentrations. The PVP rejection reached the highest value at a PEG concentration of 4 wt %, whereas at higher values (from 4 to 9 wt %), the rejection decreased. The same trend was found also for the tensile stress at break, Young's modulus, and elongation at break of the hollow fibers. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 989-1004, 2013

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