A unique method for the preparation of cellulose-polyethyleneimine (PEI) blend membranes for nanofiltration is presented. Trimethylsilyl cellulose was used as a precursor for the blend membrane fabrication followed by a simple hydrolysis to regenerate the cellulose structure. The resulting homogeneous blend membranes exhibited high neutral solute rejection in water, which was surprisingly better than the performance of the individual membranes due to the strong interactions between the blended polymers. More interestingly, the same membrane demonstrated over five times higher flux of methanol after solvent activation with water as compared to the fluxes of the pure membranes, attributed to formation of nanocracks. High rejection of negatively charged dyes in this solvent with around 450 Da molecular weight cut-off was obtained at an exceptionally high flux of 160 Lm−2 h−1 at a pressure of 4.5 bar. The membranes will be beneficial in nanofiltration of polar solvents containing neutral and charged molecules.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation