Development of superhydrophobic electrospun fibrous membrane of polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-2)
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Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) are increasingly recognized as a potential membrane material for adsorption and separation applications due to their permanent porosity and solution processability. PIM-2 can be produced using commercially available 5,5',6,6'-Tetrahydrozy-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl-1,1'-spirobisindane and decafluorobiphenyl monomers in the powder form. It possesses considerable amount of fluorine in the polymer backbone and this feature could provide significant hydrophobicity to polymer. This research aims to investigate the fabrication of self-standing PIM-2 fibrous membranes by electrospinning method to introduce a useful material for adsorption applications. Electrospinning was performed using tetrachloroethane as a solvent and bead free, uniform fibers were produced as confirmed by SEM imaging. Average fiber diameter was calculated as 5.5 +/- 1.5 mu m for a self-standing fibrous membrane of PIM-2. Structural characterization was conducted using FT-IR, NMR and XPS spectroscopies showing the purity of pristine powder and fibrous membrane of PIM-2. Thermal stability of PIM-2 fibrous membrane was investigated using TGA and it shows no discernible weight loss below 450 degrees C. The porosity of fibrous membrane was investigated by N-2 adsorption/desorption measurements that indicates significant microporosity with similar to 600 m(2) g(-1) BET surface area. In addition, the hydrophobicity of PIM-2 was tested by water contact angle measurements, showing 155 +/- 6 degrees WCA, indicating super hydrophobicity owing to rough surface and high fluorine content. Consequently, the combination of straightforward synthesis, solution processability, high thermal stability, high surface area, and superhydrophobicity makes PIM-2 a promising candidate for adsorption applications. Therefore, it was successfully employed in organic and oil adsorption. Fibrous membranes of PIM-2 has shown up to 2200 +/- 100% and 1900 +/- 100% weight gain after in contact with silicon oil and DMSO respectively. In addition, dense membrane of PIM-2 was prepared by solvent casting method and the uptake ability was compared with fibrous membrane showing that fibrous form is more convenient for liquid adsorption applications.