A ground breaking polymer blend for CO2/N2 separation

Saeed Mazinani, Rouzbeh Ramezani, Siavash Darvishmanesh, Gomotsegang F. Molelekwa, Renzo Di Felice, Bart Van Der Bruggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The commercial polyetherimide sulfone polymer Extem was blended with polyethersulfone (PES) to achieve a new, highly selective membrane for CO2/N2 separation in order to allow for a breakthrough in carbon capture applications. The miscibility and molecular interaction between PES and Extem for blend compositions 80/20, 50/50 and 20/80 w/w were evaluated. Differential Scanning Calorimetry showed that of all the blend compositions, only the 20/80 blend is miscible as a single glass transition temperature was observed, lying between the glass transition temperatures of PES and Extem. FTIR spectra revealed shifts in functional group frequencies of the polymer blends, suggesting inter-molecular interactions between the polymer chains of Extem and PES. XRD patterns of the 20/80 blend showed a much lower characteristic peak intensity compared to other blend compositions, which indicates strong inter-molecular interactions. The density of the polymer blends was lower than that of the pure polymers, which is related to a decrease in fractional free volume. The separation performance of membranes synthesized with these blends was investigated for a gas mixture containing 15% vol. CO2. Blend membranes were limited by the tradeoff between permeability and selectivity, except for the 20/80 blend, which interstingly had a permeability and selectivity more than threefold that of other membranes, as the values hovered around the Robeson's upper bound. The miscibility of Extem/PES therefore resulted in a new polymer material, which is a potential candidate for carbon capture applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of CO2 Utilization
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018


  • CO separation
  • Extem
  • Miscibility
  • Molecular interaction
  • PES
  • Polymer blending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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