Vertically aligned (VA) carbon nanotubes (CNTs) could be a promising material for membrane filtration due to their ultrahigh water permeability. However, VA CNT based membranes showed three challenging issues: low pore density, poor mechanical strength, and a complex fabrication process. In this study, the highest pore density 3.0×1012 pore/cm2 was achieved by combining volatile ethanol addition and subsequent mold pressing. Urethane monomer was infiltrated between CNTs through an ethanol stream. Polymerized urethane provided mechanical strength to the VA CNT membrane. Membrane pore size distribution was analyzed based on the polyethylene oxide rejection. Pore size distribution ranged from 3.0 to 5.5 nm and the average pore size was 4.1 nm. The pressure durability representing mechanical strength was analyzed based on the compaction index (CI). The VA CNT membrane showed 4 times higher CI than that of the commercial ultrafiltration (UF) membrane due to its reinforcement. The VA CNT membrane showed 938 times higher water permeability than the UF membrane. Water permeabilities of all VA CNT membranes studied until now were compared using normalized forms based on the membrane pore structural parameters in the Hagen-Poiseuille (HP) equation. The results demonstrated that the VA CNT membrane fabricated in this study showed the highest water permeability enhancement and membrane pore size showed the highest deviation from HP theory among three structural parameters.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( NRF-2012M3A7B4049863 ).
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.
- Carbon nanotubes
- Vertically aligned
- Water permeability
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation