Mass transport in polymers

Ferrari, Maria Chiara (2009) Mass transport in polymers, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria chimica dell'ambiente e della sicurezza, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1629.
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The study of mass transport in polymeric membranes has grown in importance due to its potential application in many processes such as separation of gases and vapors, packaging, controlled drug release. The diffusion of a low molecular weight species in a polymer is often accompanied by other phenomena like swelling, reactions, stresses, that have not been investigated in all their aspects yet. Furthermore, novel materials have been developed that include inorganic fillers, reactive functional groups or ions, that make the scenery even more complicated. The present work focused on the experimental study of systems where the diffusion is accompanied by other processes; suitable models were also developed to describe the particular circumstances in order to understand the underlying concepts and be able to design the performances of the material. The effect of solvent-induced deformation in polymeric films during sorption processes was studied since the dilation, especially in constrained membranes, can cause the development of stresses and therefore early failures of the material. The bending beam technique was used to test the effects of the dilation and the stress induced in the polymer by penetrant diffusion. A model based on the laminate theory was developed that accounts for the swelling and is able to predict the stress that raise in the material. The addition of inorganic fillers affects the transport properties of polymeric films. Mixed matrix membranes based on fluorinated, high free volume matrices show attractive performances for separation purposes but there is a need for deeper investigation of the selectivity properties towards gases and vapors. A new procedure based on the NELF model was tested on the experimental data; it allows to predict solubility of every penetrant on the basis of data for one vapor. The method has proved to be useful also for the determination of the diffusion coefficient and for an estimation of the permeability in the composite materials. Oxygen scavenging systems can overcome lack of barrier properties in common polymers that forbids their application in sensitive applications as food packaging. The final goal of obtaining a membrane almost impermeable to oxygen leads to experimental times out of reach. Hence, a simple model was developed in order to describe the transport of oxygen in a membrane with also reactive groups and analyze the experimental data collected on SBS copolymers that show attractive scavenging capacity. Furthermore, a model for predicting the oxygen barrier behavior of a film formed as a blend of OSP in a common packaging material was built, considering particles capable of reactions with oxygen embedded in a non-reactive matrix. Perfluorosulphonic acid ionomers (PFSI) are capturing attention due to a high thermal and chemical resistance coupled with very peculiar transport properties, that make them appropriate to be used in fuel cells. The possible effect of different formation procedure was studied together with the swelling due to water sorption since both water uptake and dilation can dramatically affect the fuel cells performances. The water diffusion and sorption was studied with a FTIR-ATR spectrometer that can give deeper information on the bonds between water molecules and the sulphonic hydrophilic groups and, therefore, on the microstructure of the hydrated ionomer.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Ferrari, Maria Chiara
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Ingegneria industriale
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
17 Aprile 2009

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