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Polymers 2017, 9(10), 491;

Ferrocene-Modified Block Copolymers for the Preparation of Smart Porous Membranes

Ernst-Berl Institute for Chemical Engineering and Macromolecular Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Alarich-Weiss-Str. 4, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 5 October 2017 / Published: 8 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Block Copolymers at Interfaces and Surfaces)
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The design of artificially generated channels featuring distinct remote-switchable functionalities is of critical importance for separation, transport control, and water filtration applications. Here, we focus on the preparation of block copolymers (BCPs) consisting of polystyrene-block-poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PHEMA) having molar masses in the range of 91 to 124 kg mol−1 with a PHEMA content of 13 to 21 mol %. The BCPs can be conveniently functionalized with redox-active ferrocene moieties by a postmodification protocol for the hydrophilic PHEMA segments. Up to 66 mol % of the hydroxyl functionalities can be efficiently modified with the reversibly redox-responsive units. For the first time, the ferrocene-containing BCPs are shown to form nanoporous integral asymmetric membranes by self-assembly and application of the non-solvent-induced phase separation (SNIPS) process. Open porous structures are evidenced by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and water flux measurements, while efficient redox-switching capabilities are investigated after chemical oxidation of the ferrocene moieties. As a result, the porous membranes reveal a tremendously increased polarity after oxidation as reflected by contact angle measurements. Additionally, the initial water flux of the ferrocene-containing membranes decreased after oxidizing the ferrocene moieties because of oxidation-induced pore swelling of the membrane. View Full-Text
Keywords: block copolymers; metallopolymers; self-assembly; postmodification; membranes; stimuli-responsive polymers; phase inversion block copolymers; metallopolymers; self-assembly; postmodification; membranes; stimuli-responsive polymers; phase inversion

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Schöttner, S.; Hossain, R.; Rüttiger, C.; Gallei, M. Ferrocene-Modified Block Copolymers for the Preparation of Smart Porous Membranes. Polymers 2017, 9, 491.

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