Get access

Effects of polymer molecular weight, concentration, and role of polyethylene glycol as additive on polyacrylonitrile homopolymer membranes



Polyacrylonitrile (PAN), is an important base polymer to cast porous membranes. In this work, a detailed study of the effects of molecular weight of PAN homopolymer and its concentration on the cast membrane has been undertaken. The effects of molecular weight of additive polyethylene glycol (PEG) and its concentration have also been investigated. The membranes are cast using dimethyl formamide as solvent using phase inversion technique. They are characterized in terms of porosity, water permeability, molecular weight cut off, average pore diameter, contact angle, and tensile strength at breaking point. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy are used to characterize the chemical and morphological changes of the membrane surface. Further studies have been considered to evaluate the antifouling property of various membranes using filtration of bovine serum albumin solution. Membrane modified by PEG 400 membrane shows an improved separation performance and antifouling characteristics. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:2375–2391, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers