Putting a stop to aging has now been made possible for highly porous polymer membranes whose efficiency in the separation of gases falls off fast when parts of their polymer chains rearrange, as so do their pores. In the journal Angewandte Chemie , a team of Australian and American researchers has now introduced a method for preventing this relaxation of the polymer chains: special porous particles made of an aromatic framework incorporate the polymer chains and hold them in their original position. Separation processes like purification and adsorption are especially energy-intensive procedures; it is thus correspondingly important to find alternatives to replace existing technologies. One possible approach is gas separation using polymer membranes. The theory behind this separation technique is that different gases pass through the membrane at different rates. This allows for the separation of CO2 from nitrogen, for example, which is relevant for carbon capture from flue gases. Currently, liquid absorbents that operate in a batch rather than continuous process are typically used. The polymer membranes used must be extremely porous, so that as much of the surface area as possible is accessible to the gas molecules. It is no problem to produce highly porous membranes by using the appropriate “molds”. Read
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