Investigation of polarclean and gamma-valerolactone as solvents for polysulfone membrane fabrication

Xiaobo Dong, Halle D. Shannon, Isabel C. Escobar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Petroleum-derived solvents used for membrane fabrication through the nonsolvent induced phase separation (NIPS) process are known for their toxicity. Therefore, bio-derived and low-toxicity solvents are starting to be investigated. Examples of bio-derived, low-toxicity solvents include methyl-5-(dimethylamino)-2-methyl-5-oxopentanoate (PolarClean) and gamma-valerolactone (GVL). PolarClean has been previously used to fabricate polysulfone (PSf) membranes but with mixed results, such as having similar flux and rejection as traditional membranes, but having membrane pores collapse during membrane cleaning. To address this issue, GVL was investigated as a sole solvent and a co-solvent with PolarClean to fabricate PSf membranes. Membranes prepared using GVL as a sole solvent were observed to be gelatinous, hence not ideal for filtration. On the other hand, when GVL and PolarClean were used as co-solvents, viable membranes were cast with surface charge and hydrophicility not being significantly different from membranes made using PolarClean alone. Furthermore, the average pore size of membranes decreased as the weight percent of GVL in dope solutions increased. Therefore, the use of PolarClean/GVL as co-solvents shows promise for the fabrication of PSf membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreen Polymer Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationNew Products, Processes, and Applications
EditorsH. N. Cheng, Patrick B. Smith, Richard A. Gross
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780841233898
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge that this work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement (grant number 1355438) and by the NSF KY EPSCoR Program. The authors also acknowledge Solvay Novecare for providing PolarClean, and Wenxin Cao and Dr. Fuqian Yang for their help on AFM.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)


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