Preparation and characterization of polysulfone membrane coated with poly(ether block amid) for oxygen enrichment process

Kok Chung Chong, Yin Yin Chan, Woei Jye Lau, Soon Onn Lai, Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Hui Shan Thiam


Oxygen enriched air (OEA) is widely applied in various areas such as chemical and medical applications. Currently, cryogenic distillation and pressure swing adsorption are the two common technologies that being commercially used for i the production of OEA. However, these two techniques are not economically favorable due to required intensive energy and large built-up area. With the advancement of membrane technology in separation process, it garners the interest from both industrial and academic to explore the feasibility of membrane in gas separation. In this study, polysulfone (PSF) hollow fiber membranes with poly(ether block amide) (PEBAX) coating were used for the separation of O2/N2 gas. The hollow fiber membranes used in this work were fabricated by phase inversion spinning process using PSF pellet, along with N,N-dimetyhlacetamide (DMAc) and ethanol (EtOH) as solvent and co-solvent, whereas tetrahydrofuran (THF) as additive. The fabricated membrane exhibited dense structure in the inner layer whereas finger like layer at the outer surface. The formation of this structure was attributed by rapid phase inversion of the solution arose from strong solvent used. The EDX surface mapping analysis confirmed the formation of PEBAX coating on the membrane surface. Gas permeation study in this work illustrated that the pristine PSF membrane exhibited better gas separation performance relative to the PEBAX coated membrane with 20% higher in terms of permeance. The results obtained from this work suggested that the PEBAX coating enhanced the membrane surface but not certain to improve the gas separation performance. Further study on the PEBAX materials for the membrane coating is essential to polish its potential in gas separation.


Polysulfone, PEBAX, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Gas Separation

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