Functionalized graphene oxide/polyimide nanocomposites as highly CO2-selective membranes


The design of highly CO2-selective membranes by incorporating low amounts (0.25–0.75 wt%) of functionalized graphene oxide (F-GO) nanosheets (polyethylene glycol functionalized and aminated GOs) into an Ultem® 1000 polyetherimide (PEI) is presented. Structural and morphological analysis of the membranes by infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and scanning electron microscopy revealed strong interfacial interactions between the F-GO nanosheets and PEI. The CO2/CH4 separation performance of the membranes was discussed in terms of filler-polymer interfacial interactions and free volume characteristics. The origins of free volume are proposed to be different for GO/PEI and F-GO/PEI membranes: free volume is mainly located at the GO-PEI interface of the GO/PEI membranes while distributed within interphase regions formed around the F-GO nanosheets in the F-GO/PEI ones. These different free volume localizations resulted in distinct gas separation properties of the membranes. The membranes containing aminated-GO showed outstanding CO2/CH4 selectivities up to 142, due to the activation of multi-permselectivity mechanism in the PEI membrane by addition of the aminated nanosheets. The promising potential of F-GOs in CO2 removal is highlighted by comparing the CO2/CH4 separation performance of the F-GO/PEI membranes with that of other nanocomposites of PEI.

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Partial financial support from the Iranian Nano-technology Initiative is gratefully appreciated.

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Correspondence to Alireza Sharif.

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Koolivand, H., Sharif, A., Kashani, M.R. et al. Functionalized graphene oxide/polyimide nanocomposites as highly CO2-selective membranes. J Polym Res 21, 599 (2014).

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  • Nanocomposite membrane
  • Graphene oxide
  • Gas selectivity
  • Multi-permselectivity