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Membranes 2016, 6(2), 27;

Controlled Bulk Properties of Composite Polymeric Solutions for Extensive Structural Order of Honeycomb Polysulfone Membranes

Research Institute on Membrane Technology-National Research Council (CNR-ITM), Via Pietro Bucci 17C, Rende (CS) 87036, Italy
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci, 33C, Rende (CS) 87036, Italy
WCU Energy Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul OK763, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
Received: 18 March 2016 / Revised: 28 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 16 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Preparation and Characterization)
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This work provides additional insights into the identification of operating conditions necessary to overcome a current limitation to the scale-up of the breath figure method, which is regarded as an outstanding manufacturing approach for structurally ordered porous films. The major restriction concerns, indeed, uncontrolled touching droplets at the boundary. Herein, the bulk of polymeric solutions are properly managed to generate honeycomb membranes with a long-range structurally ordered texture. Water uptake and dynamics are explored as chemical environments are changed with the intent to modify the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance and local water floatation. In this context, a model surfactant such as the polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate is used in combination with alcohols at different chain length extents and a traditional polymer such as the polyethersufone. Changes in the interfacial tension and kinematic viscosity taking place in the bulk of composite solutions are explored and examined in relation to competitive droplet nucleation and growth rate. As a result, extensive structurally ordered honeycomb textures are obtained with the rising content of the surfactant while a broad range of well-sized pores is targeted as a function of the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance and viscosity of the composite polymeric mixture. The experimental findings confirm the consistency of the approach and are expected to give propulsion to the commercially production of breath figures films shortly. View Full-Text
Keywords: breath figure membranes; extensively ordered textures; water self-assembly breath figure membranes; extensively ordered textures; water self-assembly

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Gugliuzza, A.; Perrotta, M.L.; Drioli, E. Controlled Bulk Properties of Composite Polymeric Solutions for Extensive Structural Order of Honeycomb Polysulfone Membranes. Membranes 2016, 6, 27.

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