- Conference date: 20–23 June 2010
- Location: Ischia (Italy)
The vapor transport properties of nanocomposite materials obtained with different techniques and based on a high free volume glassy polymer suitable for membrane separations, poly[1‐(trimethylsilyl)‐1‐propyne] (PTMSP), have been determined and modeled. The simple mixing in solution of hydrophobic fumed silica nanoparticles with PTMSP leads to mixed matrix membranes, which show higher free volume and higher values of diffusivity and permeability than the pure polymeric material. If a sol‐gel route is followed, with PTMSP and Tetraethoxysylane (TEOS) as precursor of the silica phase, one obtains hybrid matrices characterized by lower vapor diffusion and sorption values with respect to the pure polymer. Although the trends observed are very regular functions of the silica content in the composite, none of the behavior observed obeys traditional models for composites permeability, such as the Maxwell’s one. Both types of behaviors were modeled considering the variation of polymer fractional free volume induced by the inorganic phase: in the mixed matrices the poor interactions between silica and polymer chains favor the formation of nanovoids at the interface, increasing the free volume and the vapor diffusivity, while in the more interconnected hybrid matrices the inorganic domains act as constraints, reducing the volume occupied by the polymeric phase, which is naturally endowed with a very high excess free volume.
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