Mechanically and structurally robust sulfonated block copolymer membranes for water purification applications

J. Yeo, S. Y. Kim, S. Kim, D. Y. Ryu, T. H. Kim, M. J. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The effective removal of ionic pollutants from contaminated water using negatively charged nanofiltration membranes is demonstrated. Block copolymers comprising polystyrene (PS) and partially hydrogenated polyisoprene (hPI) were synthesized by varying chain architectures. A one step procedure of cross-linking (hPI blocks) and sulfonation reactions (PS chains) was then carried out, which was revealed as an effective method to enhance mechanical integrity of membranes while hydrophilic sulfonated chains remain intact. In particular, the control of chain architecture allows us to create a synergetic effect on optimizing charge densities of the membrane, water permeability, and mechanical integrity under water purification conditions. The best performing membrane can almost completely (>99%) reject various divalent cations and also show NO 3 rejection >85% and Na + rejection >87%. Well defined nanostructures (tens of nanometers) as well as the periodically arranged water domains (a few nanometers) within hydrophilic phases of the hydrated membranes were confirmed by in situ neutron scattering experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245703
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 22

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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