Microstructures in phase-inversion membranes: Part I. Formation of macrovoids

C.A. Smolders, A.J. Reuvers, R.M. Boom, I.M. Wienk

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A new mechanism for the formation of macrovoids in phase-inversion membranes is proposed. It is based on the observed difference in type of demixing of a thin film of a polymer solution when immersed in a nonsolvent bath: delayed or instantaneous demixing. The explanation for macrovoid formation assumes local conditions of delayed demixing in front of a certain layer of nuclei already formed, due to a change in the interfacial compositions at the advancing coagulation front, as compared to the original composition at the interface film-bath. Effects of variations in membrane formation conditions which can be calculated using the model of diffusive mass transport in thin films of polymeric solutions in combination with phase separation in phase-inversion membranes, completely support the mechanism as proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-275
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of membrane science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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