Synthesis and Characterization of Hydrophilic-Hydrophobic Poly (Arylene Ether Sulfone) Random and Segmented Copolymers for Membrane Applications
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Poly(arylene ether sulfone)s are high-performance engineering thermoplastics that have been investigated extensively over the past several decades due to their outstanding mechanical properties, high glass transition temperatures (Tg), solvent resistance and exceptional thermal, oxidative and hydrolytic stability. Their thermal and mechanical properties are highly suited to a variety of applications including membrane applications such as reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, and gas separation. This dissertation covers structure-property-performance relationships of poly(arylene ether sulfone) and poly(ethylene oxide)-containing random and segmented copolymers for reverse osmosis and gas separation membranes. The second chapter of this dissertation describes synthesis of disulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) random copolymers with oligomeric molecular weights that contain hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments for thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis membranes. These copolymers were synthesized and chemically modified to obtain novel crosslinkable poly(arylene ether sulfone) oligomers with acrylamide groups on both ends. The acrylamide-terminated oligomers were crosslinked with UV radiation in the presence of a multifunctional acrylate and a UV initiator. Transparent, dense films were obtained with high gel fractions. Mechanically robust TFC membranes were prepared from either aqueous or water-methanol solutions cast onto a commercial UDEL® foam support. This was the first example that utilized a water or alcohol solvent system and UV radiation to obtain reverse osmosis TFC membranes. The membranes were characterized with regard to composition, surface properties, and water uptake. Water and salt transport properties were elucidated at the department of chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. The gas separation membranes presented in chapter three were poly(arylene ether sulfone) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO)-containing polyurethanes. Poly(arylene ether sulfone) copolymers with controlled molecular weights were synthesized and chemically modified to obtain poly(arylene ether sulfone) polyols with aliphatic hydroxyethyl terminal functionality. The hydroxyethyl-terminated oligomers and α-ω-hydroxy-terminated PEO were chain extended with a diisocyanate to obtain polyurethanes. Compositions with high poly(arylene ether sulfone) content relative to the hydrophilic PEO blocks were of interest due to their mechanical integrity. The membranes were characterized to analyze their compositions, thermal and mechanical properties, water uptake, and molecular weights. These membranes were also evaluated by collaborators at the University of Texas at Austin to explore single gas transport properties. The results showed that both polymer and transport properties closely related to PEO-content. The CO2/CH4 gas selectivities of our membranes were improved from 25 to 34 and the CO2/N2 gas selectivity nearly doubled from 25 to 46 by increasing PEO-content from 0 to 30 wt.% in polyurethanes. Chapter four also focuses on polymers for gas separation membranes. Disulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) and poly(ethylene oxide)-containing polyurethanes were synthesized for potential applications as gas separation membranes. Disulfonated polyols containing 20 and 40 mole percent of disulfonated repeat units with controlled molecular weights were synthesized. Poly(arylene ether sulfone) polyols and α,ω-hydroxy-terminated poly(ethylene oxide) were subsequently chain extended with a diisocyanate to obtain polyurethanes. Thermal and mechanical characterization revealed that the polyurethanes had a phase-mixed complex morphology.
- Doctoral Dissertations