Carbon Nanotube Networks as Nanoscaffolds for Fabricating Ultrathin Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes

Jue Hou, Huacheng Zhang, Yaoxin Hu, Xingya Li, Xiaofang Chen, Seungju Kim, Yuqi Wang, George P. Simon, Huanting Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membranes have shown great potential for gas separation owing to their low cost, good chemical stability, and high selectivity. However, most of the conventional CMS membranes exhibit low gas permeance due to their thick active layer, which limits their practical applications. Herein, we report a new strategy for fabricating CMS membranes with a 100 nm-thick ultrathin active layer using poly(furfuryl alcohol) (PFA) as a carbon precursor and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as nanoscaffolds. CNT networks are deposited on a porous substrate as nanoscaffolds, which guide PFA solution to effectively spread over the substrate and form a continuous layer, minimizing the penetration of PFA into the pores of the substrate. After pyrolysis process, the CMS membranes with 100-1000 nm-thick active layer can be obtained by adjusting the CNT loading. The 322 nm-thick CMS membrane exhibits the best trade-off between the gas permeance and selectivity, a H2 permeance of 4.55 × 10-8 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1, an O2 permeance of 2.1 × 10-9 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1, and an O2/N2 ideal selectivity of 10.5, which indicates the high quality of the membrane produced by this method. This work provides a simple, efficient strategy for fabricating ultrathin CMS membranes with high selectivity and improved gas flux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20182-20188
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • carbon molecular sieve membrane
  • carbon nanotube
  • gas separation
  • membrane preparation
  • nanoscaffold

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