Solution-processable poly(ether-ether-ketone) membranes for organic solvent nanofiltration: from dye separation to pharmaceutical purification

Nawader Alqadhi, Mohamed Abdellah, Sarvarkhodzha Nematulloev, Omar F. Mohammed, Mahmoud A. Abdulhamid, Gyorgy Szekely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Through polymer engineering, the membrane properties can be considerably changed and its performance can be improved. Organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes require polymers with good solution processability to facilitate membrane preparation. However, the resultant membranes should have excellent solvent resistance. Poly(ether-ether-ketone) (PEEK) is a potential polymer for OSN applications because of its high thermal stability and excellent solvent resistance. However, commercial PEEK has limited solution processability, and its fabrication requires a harsh acidic environment. Herein, two customized PEEKs were synthesized by incorporating methyl (–CH3) and sulfonyl (SO2) groups into the polymer backbone. The membranes were prepared by phase inversion using N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) and TamiSolve as a green alternative. The effects of the polymer structure, green solvent, and crosslinking on the membrane morphology, chemical and mechanical stability, as well as separation performance have been examined. The molecular interaction between organic solvents and PEEKs were investigated through molecular dynamic simulations and density functional theory. The molecular weight cutoff (MWCO) values of the membranes were 540–768 g mol−1, with a high corresponding permeance of 8.2–20 L m−2 h−1 bar−1 in acetone. The long-term stability of membranes was successfully demonstrated over two weeks through a continuous crossflow filtration using acetone under a pressure of 30 bar. The membranes demonstrated excellent active pharmaceutical ingredient purification through the removal a 2-methoxyethoxymethyl chloride (125 g mol−1) carcinogenic impurity from roxithromycin (837 g mol−1).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125072
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-27
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1401-01-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under BAS/1/1401-01-01, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals under SF21012.


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