The Use of Solubility Parameters for Solvent Selection in Asymmetric Membrane Formation

  • Elias Klein
  • James K. Smith


The ability to form asymmetric membranes is the basis upon which relatively impermeable polymers have been adapted to yield reverse osmosis membranes that can provide purified water at technologically significant rates. The experiments reported by Loeb and Sourirajan[1], which were subsequently shown[2,3] to yield membranes having a relatively dense surface layer followed by a gradual transition to a supporting macroporous structure, initiated the subsequent research to explain the mechanism of formation of such structures. The preparation of porous membranes had been well known before that time. Elford[4] described the manufacture of porous cellulose nitrate; Vaughan[5] adapted the method to cellulose acetate; and Loeb attributes the leads which led to their experiments to earlier literature[6] on the formation of porous cellulose acetate membranes. But the unique property of the Loeb-Sourirajan membranes is their ability to exhibit the selectivity characteristic of the dense cellulose acetate, and yet provide water fluxes which indicate that the rate controlling layer can only be of the order of 0.25 µ, even when the gross thickness of the membranes is about 100 µ. It has been shown[3] that the structure is a composite exhibiting the characteristics of both a porous membrane and a thin dense membrane. With this fact it is possible to reconcile the diffusive transport data of cellulose acetate for both solute and water.


Acetone MeOH Aniline Cyclohexane Phthalate 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias Klein
    • 1
  • James K. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Gulf South Research InstituteNew OrleansUSA

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