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Keywords:

  • block copolymers;
  • membranes;
  • phase behavior;
  • phase inversion;
  • polystyrene-block-poly(ethylene oxide);
  • self-assembly

Abstract

For the first time the combination of solution casting and solvent–nonsolvent exchange (phase inversion) has been applied to generate asymmetric membranes with highly ordered hexagonally packed cylinders with perpendicular orientation composed of polystyrene-block-poly(ethylene oxide). The influence of parameters like solvent composition and evaporation time on the membrane formation is presented. The development is based on a study of the solution behavior by dynamic light scattering and the precipitation behavior of the cylinder forming diblock copolymer by turbidity measurements from different solvent and nonsolvent systems. The water flux properties, as an important membrane characteristic, show a time dependent behavior, due to swelling of the polyethylene oxide blocks. The morphologies of the membranes are imaged by scanning electron microscopy. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2013