Characterization of a sulfonated pentablock copolymer for desalination applications

G. M. Geise, B. D. Freeman, D. R. Paul

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162 Citations (Scopus)


Water and salt transport properties were determined in a family of sulfonated pentablock copolymers to characterize their potential as chlorine-tolerant desalination membrane materials. The degree of sulfonation, block molecular weight, and casting conditions can be independently varied to tune the transport properties of these materials. Data for water uptake, water permeability, salt permeability, and apparent surface charge are presented. Apparent diffusion coefficients of water in these materials were calculated using the solution-diffusion theory. Generally speaking, water sorption, water diffusivity, water permeability, and salt permeability increase with increasing degree of sulfonation. As ion exchange capacity increases from 0.4 to 2.0 meq/g (dry polymer), water uptake values vary between 21% and 118%, and water permeability values, in units of cm2 s-1, vary over 4 orders of magnitude. Salt permeability depends on both the upstream sodium chloride concentration, between 0.01 and 1.0 mol L-1, and the degree of sulfonation. Both water permeability and salt permeability are sensitive to the conditions used when casting the polymer films. Apparent surface charge, as characterized by zeta potential, has been shown to be related to the fouling tendency of several membrane materials. In these materials, zeta potential is most negative in samples with low levels of sulfonation and is near neutral in samples with the highest level of sulfonation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5815-5822
Number of pages8
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Block copolymer
  • Desalination
  • Permeability

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