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Open AccessArticle

Characterization and Optimization of the Alkaline Hydrolysis of Polyacrylonitrile Membranes

Departamento de Química Física (Laboratorio de Química Macromolecular), Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), B Sarriena s/n, 48940 Leioa, Spain
BCMaterials, Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, Building 500-1st Floor, 48160 Derio, Spain
Macromolecular Chemistry Group (LQM), Organic Chemistry II Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1843;
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 4 November 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 8 November 2019
There is currently an increasing interest in the development of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based membranes with new and enhanced properties which are of special importance in the processes of pervaporation, purification, and water treatment. Thus, the optimization of the functionalization of PAN membranes and its effect on their morphology, hydrophilicity, and mechanical properties plays an essential role in a wide range of applications. In this paper, the alkaline hydrolysis of asymmetric PAN membranes was investigated in order to get carboxyl-enriched surfaces that are of a great interest for more demanding subsequent modifications. The process was monitored using –C=NH intermediate bonds, which could be observed during the hydrolysis reaction by X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) before the formation of carboxyl and amide groups. The amount of introduced carboxylic acid groups could be determined by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and by the interaction with toluidine blue O (TBO) dye. Hydrolysis was revealed as a simple way to modulate hydrophilicity (decreasing contact angle from 60 to 0° for reaction times from 0–3 h) and the mechanical properties of PAN membranes. View Full-Text
Keywords: polyacrylonitrile; surface modification; hydrolysis polyacrylonitrile; surface modification; hydrolysis
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Pérez-Álvarez, L.; Ruiz-Rubio, L.; Moreno, I.; Vilas-Vilela, J.L. Characterization and Optimization of the Alkaline Hydrolysis of Polyacrylonitrile Membranes. Polymers 2019, 11, 1843.

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