MOF-mixed matrix membranes: Precise dispersion of MOF particles with better compatibility via a particle fusion approach for enhanced gas separation properties

Salman Shahid, Kitty Nijmeijer, Sabrina Nehache, Ivo Vankelecom, André Deratani, Damien Quemener*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) incorporating conventional fillers frequently suffer from insufficient adhesion between the polymer matrix and the fillers. This often results in the formation of non-selective voids at the filler/polymer interface, which decreases the performance of the membrane. A novel approach is presented here to develop metal organic framework (MOF) based MMMs by using the self-assembly of MOF and polymer particles followed by their controlled fusion. MOF-polymer interaction is optimized through this strategy and it overcomes MOF-polymer incompatibility, MOF agglomeration and MOF distribution problems, happening especially at high loadings of MOFs when applying conventional methods. Matrimid® polymer particles were first prepared by precipitating a Matrimid® polymer solution in water. The surface of these particles was then modified by the introduction of imidazole groups, enhancing the chemical compatibility with the selected ZIF-8 MOF. ZIF-8 nanoparticles were then grown in-situ to this modified polymer particle suspension by addition of the precursor for ZIF-8 synthesis. The resulted suspension was cast to dryness and annealed in a solvent-vapor environment to induce particle fusion, leading to a dense MMM structure. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images showed an excellent dispersion of the ZIF-8 nanoparticles forming a percolating pathway without any agglomeration, even at 40wt% loading of the ZIF-8. Excellent dispersion of ZIF-8 and an excellent ZIF-8-polymer interfacial adhesion resulted in a significant improvement in both CO2 permeability and CO2/CH4 selectivity. The CO2 permeability of the MMMs increased by 200% and the CO2/CH4 selectivity increased by 65% as compared to unfilled Matrimid®. More detailed analysis of the gas transport performance of the MMMs showed that the CO2 permeability and the CO2/CH4 selectivity are mainly governed by the increase in CO2 diffusivity. The presented approach is a very versatile MMM preparation route, not only for this specific ZIF and polymer but for a wide range of material combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of membrane science
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015


  • Gas separation
  • High pressure
  • Mixed matrix membranes
  • MOF
  • Particle fusion
  • n/a OA procedure


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