Understanding the structure and performance of self-assembled triblock terpolymer membranes

MaryTheresa M. Pendergast, Rachel Mika Dorin, William A. Phillip, Ulrich Wiesner, Eric M.V. Hoek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Nanoporous membranes represent a possible route towards more precise particle and macromolecular separations, which are of interest across many industries. Here, we explored membranes with vertically-aligned nanopores formed from a poly(isoprene-. b-styrene-. b-4 vinyl pyridine) (ISV) triblock terpolymer via a hybrid self-assembly/nonsolvent induced phase separation process (S-NIPS). ISV concentration, solvent composition, and evaporation time in the S-NIPS process were varied to tailor ordering of the selective layer and produce enhanced water permeability. Here, water permeability was doubled over previous versions of ISV membranes. This was achieved by increasing volatile solvent concentration, thereby decreasing the evaporation period required for self-assembly. Fine-tuning was required, however, since overly-rapid evaporation did not yield the desired pore structure. Transport models, used to relate the in-. situ structure to the performance of these materials, revealed narrowing of pores and blocking by the dense region below. It was shown that these vertically aligned nanoporous membranes compare favorably with commercial ultrafiltration membranes formed by NIPS and track-etching processes, which suggests that there is practical value in further developing and optimizing these materials for specific industrial separations. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: This publication is based on work supported in part by Award no. KUS-C1-018-02, made by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Additional financial support for MTMP and RMD was provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Grant no. DGE-0707424. We acknowledge the use of the SPM facility at the Nano and Pico Characterization Laboratory at the California NanoSystems Institute, as well as the SEM facilities in the Molecular Instrumentation Center at the UCLA Chemistry Department and the Molecular and Nano Archaeology Laboratory at the UCLA Materials Science Department.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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