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Polysulfone/zinc oxide nanoparticle mixed matrix membranes for CO2/CH4 separation



Preparation and characterization of novel polysulfone/zinc oxide (PSf/ZnO) mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) with different ZnO loadings for high selective CO2/CH4 separation were aimed in this study. Scanning electron microscopy photographs demonstrated that spongy and small tear like pores in plain PSf membrane (0 wt % of ZnO) replaced with large tear like pores close to surface layer by increasing ZnO content up to 0.1 and 1 wt %. In contrast, a dense and less free volume structure was obtained in membranes having 3 and 5 wt % of ZnO. Membrane porosity increased from 28.68 to 50.51% with increasing ZnO content from 0 to 1 wt %. Then, a reduction in porosity was observed for membranes containing 3 and 5 wt % of ZnO. Atomic force microscopy images presented variation in membrane surface roughness. Surface roughness decreased from 67.64 nm for plain PSf to 47.86 nm for membrane containing 1 wt % of ZnO. While, surface roughness increased and reached to 115.5 and 122.4 nm for MMMs having 3 and 5 wt % of ZnO. Gas separation properties of PSf/ZnO MMMs were examined and CO2/CH4 selectivity of MMMs containing 3 and 5 wt % of ZnO were 22.29 and 54.29, respectively, in 1 bar feed pressure. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39745.