Journal of Membrane Science vol:330 issue:1-2 pages:307-318
High throughput(HT) techniques were applied for the first time for a detailed study of parameters involved in a phase inversion process. The synthesis of integrally skinned asymmetric polyimide (Matrimid (R)) membranes was investigated. In spite of being one of the most important materials of reference in solvent resistant nanofiltration (SRNF), a detailed study of the phase inversion parameters for this system is still missing. Phase inversion parameters were selected both on the level of the composition of the casting solution (polymer concentration, solvent type, co-solvent/solvent weight ratio, non-solvent content) as on the level of the post-casting (evaporation time) and immersion (composition coagulation medium) conditions. The study of this extensive parameter space was conducted in a HT-fashion, in which the entire membrane preparation and testing process was miniaturized, parallellized and automated. Thanks to the availability of reliable HT techniques at all levels (i.e. preparation of polymer solutions, membrane casting and membrane testing), 145 membranes were prepared and tested (in triplicate) in the separation of the dye rose Bengal from 2-propanol within a time frame of a few months, meaning a dramatic improvement in time- and cost-efficiency. An attempt was made to link the SRNF performances of the prepared membranes and their SEM-observed morphologies more fundamentally to the phase inversion parameters through the use of Hansen solubility parameters and viscosity measurements. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.