Preparation and characterization of membranes obtained from blends of acrylonitrile copolymers with poly(vinyl alcohol)



New microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes were obtained using acrylonitrile-vinyl acetate copolymers in mixture with poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). Thus, a blend polymer solution was prepared in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and used to obtain bicomponent polymer membranes by phase inversion. The rheological behavior of the DMSO polymer solutions was, mostly, dilatant at low shear gradients and pseudo plastic with quasi Newtonian tendency at higher gradients. Membranes were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis-differential thermal gravimetry, and pure water flux (PWF). FTIR spectra displayed the characteristic bands for acrylonitrile, vinyl acetate, and PVA. The morphology and the porosity can be tailored by the preparation conditions. PVA allows controlling the size of the pores and enables, in principle, to use the resulted membranes as supports for enzyme immobilization. PVA content influences the thermal stability. PWF values depend on the copolymer, on the content in PVA, but also on the coagulation bath composition. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41013.