Sulfonated polyaniline (S-PANI) membranes could have wide-ranging applications due to their electrical tunability, antifouling behaviour and chlorine resistance. However, S-PANI membranes below the ultrafiltration (UF) separation range have not been successfully established. This study presents a scalable approach to produce the first in-situ cross-linked S-PANI membranes at nanofiltration (NF) range. S-PANI membranes were produced by non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS). The presence of sulfonic groups as polymer cross-linking anchors and controlling the coagulation bath's acidic strength resulted in instant stabilisation of the selective layer, which hindered the solvent/non-solvent exchange rate. This enabled the production of a tailored membrane morphology with a dense skin layer, suppressed macro-voids, reduced porosity, enhanced tensile strength, increased hydrophilicity and solvent stability. S-PANI membranes cast in 3 M HCl(aq) with MWCO≈680 g mol−1 (sucrose octa-acetate) showed a rejection of 99 % for PEG 1000 g mol−1 and 91–100 % for dye solution (MW range of 320–1017 g mol−1) compared to 34 % and 74–85 % rejection for a commercial fluoropolymer membrane (nominal MWCO 1000 g mol−1), respectively. The reported approach is simple and can be applied to design new classes of cross-linked solvent stable S-PANI NF membranes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119654
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Early online date24 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jul 2021

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