Effect of dope flow rate on the morphology, separation performance, thermal and mechanical properties of ultrafiltration hollow fibre membranes

Jianjun Qin, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


We have determined the effects of dope extrusion speed (or shear rate within a spinneret) during hollow fibre spinning on ultrafiltration membrane's morphology, permeability and separation performance, and thermal and mechanical properties. We purposely chose wet-spinning process to fabricate the hollow fibres without drawing and used water as the external coagulant in the belief that the effects of gravity and elongation stress on fibre formation could be significantly reduced and the orientation induced by shear stress within the spinneret could be frozen into the wet-spun fibres. An 86/14 (weight ratio) NMP/H2O mixture was employed as the bore fluid with a constant ratio of dope fluid to bore fluid flow rate while increasing the spinning speed from 2.0 to 17.2m/min in order to minimise the complicated coupling effects of elongation stress, uneven external solvent exchange rates, and inner skin resistance on fibre formation and separation performance. Hollow fibre UF membranes were made from a dope solution containing polyethersulphone (PES)/N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)/diethylene glycol (DG) with a weight ratio of 18/42/40. This dope formulation was very close to its cloud point (binodal line) in order to speed up the coagulation of nascent fibres as much as possible so that the relaxation effect on molecular orientation was reduced. Experimental results suggested that a higher dope flow rate (shear rate) in the spinneret resulted in a hollow fibre UF membrane with a smaller pore size and a denser skin due to a greater molecular orientation. As a result, when the dope extrusion speed increased, pore size, water permeability, CTE and elongation of the final membranes decreased, but the separation performance, storage modulus, tensile strength and Young's modulus increased. Most surprisingly, for the first time, we found that there was a certain critical value, when the dope extrusion rate was over this value, the final fibre performance could not be influenced significantly. The results suggested that it was possible to dramatically enhance the production efficiency of hollow fibre UF membranes with the same fibre dimension and similar separation performance by the method proposed in this paper. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Hollow fibre spinning
  • Polyethersulphone
  • Pore size
  • Shear stress effect
  • Ultrafiltration membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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