This work reports a novel strategy to prepare affinity composite membranes using supercritical fluid technology. By blending molecularly imprinted polymeric particles with PMMA, a porous hybrid structure with affinity to the template molecule, bisphenol A, was prepared using a supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO(2))-assisted method. Membranes were characterized in terms of morphology, mechanical performance and transport properties. The ability of the polymers and hybrid membranes to adsorb bisphenol A was tested in aqueous solutions and fitted to a linearized Langmuir equation, showing that adsorption takes place at homogeneous affinity binding sites within the imprinted surface. Filtration experiments showed that the imprinted hybrid membrane was able to adsorb higher amounts of template even in non-equilibrium dynamic binding conditions. The hybridization of the PMMA membrane herein reported conveys two important improvements over neat PMMA membrane: it introduced molecular affinity towards the template molecule and significantly increased the permeability of the porous structures, which are key parameters in processes that involve membranes. This technique could expand the applications of polymeric beads powders and enhance the efficiency of the membrane's transport properties. Our work presents a new method to confer affinity to a porous structure by immobilization of imprinted polymers, combining polymer synthesis and membrane formation using supercritical fluid technology.
- Supercritical carbon dioxide
- Membrane technology
- Molecularly imprinted polymers
- Composite membrane