A Combined Gas and Water Permeances Method for Revealing the Deposition Morphology of GO Grafting on Ceramic Membranes

E. Galata, C.M. Veziri, G.V. Theodorakopoulos, G.E. Romanos, E.A. Pavlatou

Membranes 202313, 627

The adhesion enhancement of a graphene oxide (GO) layer on porous ceramic substrates is a crucial step towards developing a high-performance membrane for many applications. In this work, we have achieved the chemical anchoring of GO layers on custom-made macroporous disks, fabricated in the lab by pressing α-Al2O3 powder. To this end, three different linkers, polydopamine (PDA), 3-Glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) and (3-Aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTMS), were elaborated for their capacity to tightly bind the GO laminate on the ceramic membrane surface. The same procedure was replicated on cylindrical porous commercial ZrO2 substrates because of their potentiality for applications on a large scale. The gas permeance properties of the membranes were studied using helium at 25°C as a probe molecule and further scrutinized in conjunction with water permeance results. Measurements with helium at 25°C were chosen to avoid gas adsorption and surface diffusion mechanisms. This approach allowed us to draw conclusions on the deposition morphology of the GO sheets on the ceramic support, the mode of chemical bonding with the linker and the stability of the deposited GO laminate. Specifically, considering that He permeance is mostly affected by the pore structural characteristics, an estimation was initially made of the relative change in the pore size of the developed membranes compared to the bare substrate. This was achieved by interpreting the results via the Knudsen equation, which describes the gas permeance as being analogous to the third power of the pore radius. Subsequently, the calculated relative change in the pore size was inserted into the Hagen–Poiseuille equation to predict the respective water permeance ratio of the GO membranes to the bare substrate. The reason that the experimental water permeance values may deviate from the predicted ones is related to the different surface chemistry, i.e., the hydrophilicity or hydrophobicity that the composite membranes acquire after the chemical modification. Various characterization techniques were applied to study the morphological and physicochemical properties of the materials, like FESEM, XRD, DLS and Contact Angle.

doi: 10.3390/membranes13070627

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