Fabrication of multi-layer composite hollow fiber membranes for gas separation

Tai Shung Chung, Jyh Jeng Shieh, Wayne W.Y. Lau, M. P. Srinivasan, D. R. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Using multilayer composite hollow fiber membranes consisting of a sealing layer (silicone rubber), a selective layer (poly(4-vinylpyridine)), and a support substrate (polysulfone), we have determined the key parameters for fabricating high-performance multilayer hollow fiber composite membranes for gas separation. Surface roughness and surface porosity of the support substrate play two crucial roles in successful membrane fabrication. Substrates with smooth surfaces tend to reduce defects in the selective layer to yield composite membranes of better separation performance. Substrates with a high surface porosity can enhance the permeance of composite membranes. However, SEM micrographs show that, when preparing an asymmetric microporous membrane substrate using a phase-inversion process, the higher the surface porosity, the greater the surface roughness. How to optimize and compromise the effect of both factors with respect to permselectivity is a critical issue for the selection of support substrates to fabricate high-performance multilayer composite membranes. For a highly permeable support substrate, pre-wetting shows no significant improvement in membrane performance. Composite hollow fiber membranes made from a composition of silicone rubber/0.1-0.5wt% poly(4-vinylpyridine)/25wt% polysulfone show impressive separation performance. Gas permeances of around 100 GPU for H2, 40 GPU for CO2, and 8 GPU for O2 with selectivities of around 100 for H2/N2, 50 for CO2/CH4, and 7 for O2/N2 were obtained. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 20 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Gas separation
  • Hollow fiber
  • Multilayer composite membrane
  • Poly(4-vinylpyridine)
  • Porous substrate
  • Pre-wetting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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