The effects of a co-solvent on fabrication of cellulose acetate membranes from solutions in 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate
DooLi Kim, Ngoc Lieu Le, Suzana Pereina Nunes
J. Membr. Sci. 520, 540-549 (2016)
Ionic liquids have been considered green solvents for membrane fabrication. However, the high viscosity of their polymer solutions hinders the formation of membranes with strong mechanical properties. In this study, acetone was explored as a co-solvent with the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([EMIM]OAc) to dissolve cellulose acetate. The effects of acetone on the thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of the polymer solutions were studied and the physicochemical properties and separation capability of their resultant membranes were analyzed. The Hansen solubility parameters of [EMIM]OAc were measured by the software HSPiP and these data demonstrated that acetone was a suitable co-solvent to increase the solubility of cellulose acetate. The Gibbs free energy of mixing ΔGm was estimated to determine the proper composition of the polymer solution with better solubility. The study of the kinetics of phase separation showed that the demixing rate of the CA polymer solution in acetone and [EMIM]OAc was higher than that for solutions in [EMIM]OAc only. The membranes prepared from the former solution had higher water permeance and better mechanical stability than those prepared from the later solution. Adding acetone as a co-solvent opened the opportunity of fabricating membranes with higher polymer concentrations for higher separation capability and better mechanical properties.