Intrinsic Properties of Poly(Ether-B-Amide) (PEBAX®1074) for Gas Permeation and Pervaporation
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Poly(ether-b-amide) (Pebax® grade 1074) is a waterproof breathable block copolymer containing soft poly(ethylene oxide) and rigid polyamide 12 segments. Its intrinsic gas permeabilities to nitrogen, oxygen, methane, helium, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide were tested under different feed pressures (0.3 – 2.5 MPa) and temperatures (20 – 80 °C). This helps to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the polymer, because prior work reported in the literature addressed only a few gases and used inconsistent membrane preparation and test methods. Relatively high polar (or quadrupolar)/nonpolar gas selectivity were observed. CO2/N2 selectivity was demonstrated to be as high as 105±0.4 in Pebax®1074, with CO2 permeability coefficient of approximately 180±1 Barrer at room temperature. Additionally, the effects of solvent used in membrane preparation, heat treatment, membrane thickness, and polymer solution concentration on the membrane permeability were evaluated. Pebax® is a highly breathable material, thus its application as breathable chemically-resistant protective clothing was studied. Dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) – a sarin simulant – was selected as the challenge agent. The liquid pervaporation of pure water (simulating perspiration) and pure DMMP were measured for Pebax®1074, Pebax®2533, nitrile, latex, poly(vinyl chloride), low density polyethylene, silicone, and silicone-polycarbonate copolymer under pervaporation mode. Pebax®1074 was not only the most water permeable material but also the most selective of all the tested materials for water/DMMP – making it a very promising material for this application.