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Ion Exclusion by Sub 2-nm Carbon Nanotube Pores

Description: Carbon nanotubes offer an outstanding platform for studying molecular transport at nanoscale, and have become promising materials for nanofluidics and membrane technology due to their unique combination of physical, chemical, mechanical, and electronic properties. In particular, both simulations and experiments have proved that fluid flow through carbon nanotubes of nanometer size diameter is exceptionally fast compared to what continuum hydrodynamic theories would predict when applied on this length scale, and also, compared to conventional membranes with pores of similar size, such as zeolites. For a variety of applications such as separation technology, molecular sensing, drug delivery, and biomimetics, selectivity is required together with fast flow. In particular, for water desalination, coupling the enhancement of the water flux with selective ion transport could drastically reduce the cost of brackish and seawater desalting. In this work, we study the ion selectivity of membranes made of aligned double-walled carbon nanotubes with sub-2 nm diameter. Negatively charged groups are introduced at the opening of the carbon nanotubes by oxygen plasma treatment. Reverse osmosis experiments coupled with capillary electrophoresis analysis of permeate and feed show significant anion and cation rejection. Ion exclusion declines by increasing ionic strength (concentration) of the feed and by lowering solution pH; also, the highest rejection is observed for the A{sub m}{sup Z{sub A}} C{sub n}{sup Z{sub C}} salts (A=anion, C=cation, z= valence) with the greatest Z{sub A}/Z{sub C} ratio. Our results strongly support a Donnan-type rejection mechanism, dominated by electrostatic interactions between fixed membrane charges and mobile ions, while steric and hydrodynamic effects appear to be less important. Comparison with commercial nanofiltration membranes for water softening reveals that our carbon nanotube membranes provides far superior water fluxes for similar ion rejection capabilities.
Date: April 9, 2008
Creator: Fornasiero, F; Park, H G; Holt, J K; Stadermann, M; Grigoropoulos, C P; Noy, A et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A High-Flux, Flexible Membrane with Parylene-encapsulated Carbon Nanotubes

Description: We present fabrication and characterization of a membrane based on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and parylene. Carbon nanotubes have shown orders of magnitude enhancement in gas and water permeability compared to estimates generated by conventional theories [1, 2]. Large area membranes that exhibit flux enhancement characteristics of carbon nanotubes may provide an economical solution to a variety of technologies including water desalination [3] and gas sequestration [4]. We report a novel method of making carbon nanotube-based, robust membranes with large areas. A vertically aligned dense carbon nanotube array is infiltrated with parylene. Parylene polymer creates a pinhole free transparent film by exhibiting high surface conformity and excellent crevice penetration. Using this moisture-, chemical- and solvent-resistant polymer creates carbon nanotube membranes that promise to exhibit high stability and biocompatibility. CNT membranes are formed by releasing a free-standing film that consists of parylene-infiltrated CNTs, followed by CNT uncapping on both sides of the composite material. Thus fabricated membranes show flexibility and ductility due to the parylene matrix material, as well as high permeability attributed to embedded carbon nanotubes. These membranes have a potential for applications that may require high flux, flexibility and durability.
Date: March 14, 2008
Creator: Park, H G; In, J; Kim, S; Fornasiero, F; Holt, J K; Grigoropoulos, C P et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nanofiltration of Electrolyte Solutions by Sub-2nm Carbon Nanotube Membranes

Description: Both MD simulations and experimental studies have shown that liquid and gas flow through carbon nanotubes with nanometer size diameter is exceptionally fast. For applications in separation technology, selectivity is required together with fast flow. In this work, we use pressure-driven filtration experiments to study ion exclusion in silicon nitride/sub-2-nm CNT composite membranes as a function of solution ionic strength, pH, and ion valence. We show that carbon nanotube membranes exhibit significant ion exclusion at low salt concentration. Our results support a rejection mechanism dominated by electrostatic interactions between fixed membrane charges and mobile ions, while steric and hydrodynamic effects appear to be less important. Comparison with commercial nanofiltration membranes for water softening reveals that our carbon nanotube membranes provides far superior water fluxes for similar ion rejection capabilities.
Date: March 13, 2008
Creator: Fornasiero, F; Park, H G; Holt, J K; Stadermann, M; Kim, S; In, J B et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department