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Electropolymerization of molecular-sieving polythiophene membranes for H2 separation

Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) | 6 May 2019

M Zhang, X Jing, S Zhao, P Shao, Y Zhang, S Yuan, Y Li, C Gu, X Wang, Y Ye, X Feng and B Wang
Abstract
Membrane technologies that do not rely on heat for industrial gas separation would lower global energy cost. While polymeric, inorganic and mixed matrix separation membranes have been rapidly developed, the bottleneck is the paradox among the processability, selectivity, and permeability. Here we report a softness adjustment of rigid network (SAR) strategy to produce flexible, stand- alone and molecular-sieving membrane via electropolymerization. By varying the polymeric active sites and the alkyl chain length, 14 membranes were rationally designed and synthesized via SAR and their gas separation and mechanical performance were studied. The separation selectivities of the membranes for H2/CO2, H2/N2 and H2/CH4 can exceed the Robeson upper bound, among which, H2/CO2 separation selectivity reaches 50 with 626 Barrer of H2 permeability. The long-term and chemical stability tests demonstrate their potentials for industrial applications. This simple, scalable and cost-effective strategy holds promise to design other processible polymers with rigid and intrinsic pores for key energy-intensive separations.
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