Influence of processing history on water and salt transport properties of disulfonated polysulfone random copolymers

Wei Xie, Geoffrey M. Geise, Benny D. Freeman, Chang Hyun Lee, James E. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Disulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone)s are high glass transition temperature polymers, and their water and salt transport properties depend sensitively on thermal processing history. In this study, films of a 32 mol% disulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) random copolymer (BPS-32), polymerized in the potassium counter-ion form, were acidified using solid state and solution routes. The resulting acid counter-ion form materials were then converted to sodium, potassium, and calcium counter-ion forms via ion exchange. Additionally, several films were subjected to various thermal treatments in the solid state. Water uptake as well as water and NaCl permeability of these BPS-32 films were measured. Acidification via immersion of BPS-32 films in boiling sulfuric acid solution increased water uptake, and water and salt permeability increased. Exposure of samples to elevated temperature also influenced transport properties. For example, immersing BPS-32 films in boiling water for 4 h increased water sorption by 50%, water permeability by 2.3 times, and NaCl permeability by 8 times. The counter-ion form of the sulfonated polymer influenced the polymer's transport properties, but these effects were weaker than the effect of thermal treatment. Generally, the BPS-32 samples prepared with different processing histories followed a trade-off between water/salt permeability selectivity and water permeability. These results suggest that, like many other glassy polymers, thermal processing history influences small molecule transport in these materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1592
Number of pages12
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Disulfonated polysulfone
  • Processing history
  • Transport properties

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