Asymmetric structure and enhanced gas separation performance induced by in situ growth of silver nanoparticles in carbon membranes

Youchang Xiao, Mei Lin Chng, Tai Shung Chung*, Masahiro Toriida, Shouji Tamai, Hongmin Chen, Y. C.Jerry Jean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Ion-exchanged sulfonated poly(aryl ether ketone), SPAEK with different counter-ions (H+, Na+ and Ag+) have been utilized as polymeric precursors to fabricate carbon membranes. The effects of the substituted metal ions in polymeric precursors on the separation properties of resultant carbon membranes were investigated. X-ray diffraction analysis reveals that the polymer chain packing is improved by the substituted metal ions. The silver doped SPAEK membrane demonstrates the smallest d-spacing due to the strong interactions between the silver ions and the polar groups within the polymeric matrix. The carbon membrane derived from Ag-SPAEK exhibits a more porous structure compared to that from ion-exchanged SPAEK membranes. The silver doping enhances the ideal gas permeability of carbonized membranes by 100 fold. On top of this, the H2/N2 selectivity increases from 100 to 220 while the CO2/CH4 selectivity jumps from 25 to 67. An interesting phenomenon was observed, which is the migration of silver nanoparticles and the subsequent accumulation in the bulk of membrane after carbonization. A possible mechanism to explain for this particle relocation is the Ostwald ripening. The special directional dispersion of metal nanoparticles in carbonaceous materials was investigated and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-416
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Mitsui Chemicals, INC. and National University of Singapore (NUS) for funding this research with the Grant number of R-279-000-186-592 . Thanks are also due to the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) with Grant number of R-279-000-261-281 . The authors would like to express their thanks to Ms. Low Bee Ting and Dr. Tin Pei Shi for their useful comments and suggestions.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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