Sonication-induced Ostwald ripening of ZIF-8 nanoparticles and formation of ZIF-8/polymer composite membranes

Joshua A. Thompson, Karena W. Chapman, William J. Koros, Christopher W. Jones, Sankar Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


The effect of typical membrane processing conditions on the structure, interfacial morphology, and gas separation performance of MOF/polymer nanocomposite membranes is investigated. In particular, the ZIF-8/Matrimid® nanocomposite membrane system is examined, and it is shown that ultrasonication - a commonly employed particle dispersion method - induces significant changes in the shape, size distribution, and structure of ZIF-8 particles suspended in an organic solvent during membrane processing. Dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy reveal that ZIF-8 nanoparticles undergo substantial Ostwald ripening when subjected to high intensity ultrasonication as often required in the formation of MOF/polymer nanocomposite membranes. Other characterization techniques reveal that the ripened particles exhibit lower pore volumes and lower surface areas compared to the as-made material. ZIF-8/Matrimid® composite membranes fabricated using two sonication methods show significant differences in microstructure. Permeation measurements show significant enhancement in permeability of CO 2 and increased CO 2/CH 4 selectivity in membranes fabricated with high-intensity sonication. In contrast, composite membranes prepared with low-intensity sonication are found to be defective. A careful evaluation of MOF membrane processing conditions, as well as knowledge of the properties of the MOF material after these membrane processing steps, are necessary to develop reliable processing-structure-property relations for MOF-containing membranes. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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