PIM-1-derived carbon molecular sieve hollow fiber membranes for organic solvent reverse osmosis
Jue, Melinda L.
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Current separation technologies rely heavily on energy-intensive methods such as distillation, crystallization, and absorption to separate organic molecules. Utilization of membrane-based organic solvent separations—that avoid phase changes during separation—could revolutionize the field by enabling new low energy, low carbon emission technologies. However, existing membrane materials are unable to achieve the separation efficiency required to differentiate between very similarly sized organic molecules. Microporous materials are potential game changers in this area due to their ability to provide superb size and shape discrimination. Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) are an emerging subclass of materials with rigid backbones that lead to high membrane performance combined with solution processability. To bridge the gap between the development of new, high performance polymers and industrially attractive technologies, more efficient membrane units such as hollow fibers are needed. This work describes the organic solvent molecule transport in and the fabrication of defect-free, asymmetric hollow fiber membranes from PIM-1. These membranes are then used as precursors for the development and proof-of-concept demonstration of microporous carbon molecular sieve membranes for the molecular differentiation of organic solvent molecules. The work here spans a wide range of membrane science and engineering from polymer synthesis, membrane fabrication, and fundamental transport analysis to module formation and testing.