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Preparation of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Perforated Membrane via CO2 Foaming and Its Particle Separation Performance

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Ningbo Key Lab of Polymer Materials, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ningbo 315201, China
Microcellular Plastics Manufacturing Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 847;
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
PDF [4745 KB, uploaded 10 May 2019]
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The way in which a perforated structure is formed has attracted much interest in the porous membrane research community. This novel structure gives materials an excellent antifouling property as well as a low operating pressure and other benefits. Unfortunately, the current membrane fabrication methods usually involve multi-step processes and the use of organic solvents or additives. Our study is the first to offer a way to prepare perforated membrane by using a physical foaming technique with CO2 as the blowing agent. We selected thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as the base material because it is a biocompatible elastomer with excellent tensility, high abrasion resistance, and good elastic resilience. Various processing parameters, which included the saturation pressure, the foaming temperature, and the membrane thickness, were applied to adjust the TPU membrane’s perforated morphology. We proposed a possible formation mechanism of the perforated membrane. The as-prepared TPU membrane had good mechanical properties with a tensile strength of about 5 MPa and an elongation at break above 100%. Such mechanical properties make this novel membrane usable as a self-standing filter device. In addition, its straight-through channel structure can separate particles and meet different separation requirements. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoplastic polyurethane; foaming; perforated structure; membrane; filtration thermoplastic polyurethane; foaming; perforated structure; membrane; filtration

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ge, C.; Zhai, W.; Park, C.B. Preparation of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Perforated Membrane via CO2 Foaming and Its Particle Separation Performance. Polymers 2019, 11, 847.

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