Mixed Matrix Membranes of a Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity with Crystalline Porous Solids

  • Alexandra Bushell

Student thesis: Phd


This work explores the fabrication and permeability testing of mixed matrix membranes (MMM) utilising a polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-1) and various fillers. PIM-1 has been chosen for this work due to its high apparent surface area and high sorption of gases. PIM-1 also is a good candidate for gas sorption applications due to the film forming properties of the polymer. The fillers utilised in this work are Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) and organic cages, which have been chosen due to the gas sorption properties they exhibit. The MOFs used are micro and nanoparticles of Zeolitic Imidazole Framework-8 (ZIF-8), copper based MOF HKUST-1 and chromium based MOF MIL-101. Micro particles of magnesium based MOF Mg-MOF-74 were also looked at as well as cage 3, nano cage 3 and reduced cage 3. Comparable surface areas of the MOFs compared to those quoted in the literature have been obtained. Successful PIM-1/Filler MMMs were synthesised utilising PIM-1 and the fillers outlined above with various loadings of filler. The highest loading achieved was with a 10:6.4 PIM-1/nanoZIF-8 ratio. All MMMs apart from PIM-1/Mg-MOF-74 MMM were homogenous on a macroscale with scanning electron microscopy proving the dispersion of fillers. Gas transport properties of the MMMs were determined using predominantly a time lag method. PIM-1/ZIF-8 MMMs were also tested using a chromatographic method and using a gas sorption experiment. A range of gases were tested including CO2, N2, CH4, O2, He and H2. Ideal selectivities were also calculated with focus on the gas pairs O2/N2, CO2/CH4 and CO2/N2.When comparing the two permeability methods using the PIM-1/nanoZIF-8 MMM, lower permeability results were found from the time lag method. This was concluded to be due to the aging effect brought about by the vacuum used in the time lag method. The chromatographic method produced positive results with high selectivities, breaking Robeson's upper bound, for the gas pair O2/N2. All other fillers tested showed an increase in permeability and stable selectivity with an increase in the amount of filler. MIL-101 and Cage 3 were the most successful fillers with high permeabilities of 35600 and 37400 Barrer respectively, encroaching on that of PTMSP. Mg-MOF-74 and reduced cage 3 MMM however, had a detrimental effect on the permeability. Aging data was also investigated which showed that for the majority of MMM the permeability followed the trend of PIM-1. microHKUST-1 and cage 3 of 10:3 loading were shown to give promising results with 10000 and 14300 Barrer respectively compared to 7200 Barrer for PIM-1. Although a loss in permeability is seen, it is still above that of PIM-1 at the same point of aging. These results give a positive indication that MMMs have the potential to provide resistance against aging, a major problem in using high free volume polymers in industrial applications.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Budd (Supervisor) & Martin Attfield (Supervisor)


  • Metal Organic Frameworks
  • Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity
  • Gas Separation
  • Mixed Matrix Membtranes

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