Improving the Separation Properties of Polybenzimidazole Membranes by Adding Acetonitrile for Organic Solvent Nanofiltration

Ga Yeon Won, Ahrumi Park, Youngmin Yoo, You In Park, Jung Hyun Lee, In Chul Kim, Young Hoon Cho, Hosik Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In research on membranes, the addition of co-solvents to the polymer dope solution is a common method for tuning the morphology and separation performance. For organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) applications, we synthesized polybenzimidazole (PBI) membranes with high separation properties and stability by adding acetonitrile (MeCN) to the dope solution, followed by crosslinking with dibromo-p-xylene. Accordingly, changes in the membrane structure and separation properties were investigated when MeCN was added. PBI/MeCN membranes with a dense and thick active layer and narrow finger-like macrovoids exhibited superior rejection properties in the ethanol solution compared with the pristine PBI membrane. After crosslinking, they displayed superior rejection properties (96.56% rejection of 366-g/mol polypropylene glycol). In addition, the membranes demonstrated stable permeances for various organic solvents, including acetone, methanol, ethanol, toluene, and isopropyl alcohol. Furthermore, to evaluate the feasibility of the modified PBI OSN membranes, ecamsule, a chemical product in the fine chemical industry, was recovered. Correspondingly, the efficient recovery of ecamsule from a toluene/methanol solution using the OSN process with PBI/MeCN membranes demonstrated their applicability in many fine chemical industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (SI2211-40, KRICT), and also supported by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP), the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of the Republic of Korea (201820101066550 and 20202020800330).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • co-solvent
  • crosslink
  • evaporation
  • nonsolvent-induced phase separation
  • organic solvent nanofiltration
  • polybenzimidazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation


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