Water sorption of acid-doped polyaniline powders and hollow fibers: Equilibrium and kinetic response

Mayur M. Ostwal, Baohua Qi, John Pellegrino*, Andrei G. Fadeev, Ian D. Norris, Theodore T. Tsotsis, Muhammad Sahimi, Benjamin R. Mattes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Measurements are reported for the sorption equilibrium and transport of water vapor into polyaniline (PANI) powders and asymmetric, microporous hollow fibers. Equilibrium isotherms at 298 K were measured on powders doped with 13 different organic and inorganic acids to change the polyaniline from its emeraldine base, PANI-EB (insulating) form, to the emeraldine salt, PANI-ES (conducting) form. The powders were exposed to air streams of varying relative humidity (RH) from 15 to 80%. The four acid dopants, H 3PO 4, HPF 6, HBF 4, and CF 3SO 3H, provided the highest water sorption figures-of-merit and also displayed nonlinear isotherms. At 50% RH, these four doped powders adsorbed 0.9-1.6 molecules of water per PANI-ES repeat unit. Measurements of the sorption kinetics on the hollow fibers were done with one dopant acid, H 3PO 4. The data were obtained under exposure to air streams at an ambient pressure of ∼0.1 MPa with relative humidity ∼50% and temperatures of 300-309 K. The sorption process was well-described by unsteady Fickian diffusion into an infinite hollow cylinder. The asymmetric and porous nature of the hollow fiber's wall was represented by using an effective medium approach. The quantitative adsorption/desorption rates and equilibrium capacities depended on the experimental conditions with the measured water capacities being between 33 and 75 (mg of H 2O)/(g of dry polymer) under most conditions, though at the highest relative humidity (∼80% at 300 K) the fiber adsorbed almost 250 (mg of H 2O)/g. For relative humidities ≤ 50%, when the mass loading was recalculated on a per (H 2O molecule/polymer repeat unit) basis, the fiber had a capacity of ∼0.5-1 H 2O per PANI-ES repeat unit. In this same range of humidities, the apparent diffusion coefficients varied between 0.21 and 0.67 × 10 -12 m 2/s, except for the case of desorption at 80% RH, wherein a value of 2.38 × 10 -12 m 2/s was obtained. In general, the apparent diffusion coefficients were always larger during desorption than during adsorption. The water capacity of the polyaniline hollow fibers is at the upper end of what is usually observed for glassy polymers and provides the possibility for exploiting their electronic conductivity, good mechanical strength properties, and desiccant qualities for advanced humidity control and sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6021-6031
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 16 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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