A new and environmentally friendly technology has been used successfully to produce thermoresponsive polysulfone membranes with good performance in terms of valve mechanism in the pores, with a complete on-off control of water permeability. Membranes were prepared using a CO2-assisted phase inversion method and their pores were coated/impregnated with a thermoresponsive polymer - poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) - using a new methodology for the preparation of these type of structures. The coating/impregnation efficiency was assessed by SEM and XPS analysis that confirmed the presence of nitrogen due to the thermoresponsive hydrogel. Contact angle measurements and phosphate buffer solution permeability were determined in order to characterize the structure hydrophobicity variations with temperature. The on-off mechanism was tested using a model protein (BSA) as a proof of concept for the ability to control pore apertures by temperature stimulus. A diffusion model based on Fick's law and Langmuir adsorption was developed.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2009|