Journal of Membrane Science, Vol.188, No.1, 87-95, 2001
Preparation and characterization of inorganic hollow fiber membranes
Inorganic hollow fiber membranes were prepared by spinning a polymer solution containing suspended aluminum oxide (Al2O3) powders to a hollow fiber precursor, which is then sintered at elevated temperatures. In spinning these hollow fiber precursors, polyethersulfone (PESf), N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), and polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) were used as a polymer binder, a solvent, and an additive, respectively. The inorganic hollow fiber membranes prepared were characterized using scanning electron microscope (SEM), gas permeation techniques Coulter porometer, and gravimetric analysis. Some primary factors affecting the structure and performance of the membranes such as the sintering temperature and the ratio of the aluminum oxide to the PESf binder were studied extensively. The prepared inorganic membranes show an asymmetric structure, which is similar to the conventional polymeric membranes prepared from the same phase-inversion technique. The inorganic hollow fiber membrane with a higher porosity and better mechanical strength could be prepared by blending the spinning solution with a smaller amount of aluminum oxide powder.