CO2-philic PBEM-g-POEM comb copolymer membranes: Synthesis, characterization and CO2/N2 separation

Jae Hun Lee, Jung Pyo Jung, Eunji Jang, Ki Bong Lee, Yong Soo Kang, Jong Hak Kim

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41 Citations (Scopus)


We report a high performance, CO2-philic, alcohol-soluble, comb copolymer consisting of poly(2-[3-(2H-benzotriazol-2-yl)-4-hydroxyphenyl] ethyl methacrylate) (PBEM) and poly(oxyethylene methacryalate) (POEM) for use in composite membranes for CO2/N2 separation. The PBEM-g-POEM comb copolymer was synthesized via facile free radical polymerization, and the structure was confirmed by using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). The bimodal nanostructural morphology and amorphous structure of the comb copolymers were observed using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). When the PBEM content in the copolymer was below 20wt%, the CO2/N2 selectivity was <4 and the CO2 permeance increased linearly with pressure due to the liquid-like rubbery nature of the POEM chains. When the PBEM content was above 20wt%, the CO2 permeance did not change much with pressure, indicating resistance to plasticization. The best performance was obtained from a membrane with a PBEM:POEM ratio of 20:80wt%, in which the CO2 permeance and CO2/N2 selectivity were 29.3GPU (1GPU=10-6cm3(STP)/(scm2cmHg)) and 73.3, respectively. This performance was much better than that of the composite membrane prepared using commercially available PEBAX (CO2 permeance: 22.9 GPU, CO2/N2 selectivity: 21.8).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge financial support from the Korea Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (KCAP) ( 2009-0093883 ), and the Energy Efficiency & Resources of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) ( 20122010100040 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • CO
  • Comb copolymer
  • Composite membrane
  • Gas separation
  • Selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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