Microporous flat films with potential as membranes were produced via melt processing and post-extrusion drawing from immiscible polypropylene/polystyrene blends containing a compatibilizing copolymer. The blends were first compounded in a co-rotating twin-screw extruder and subsequently extruded through a sheet die to obtain the precursor films. These were uniaxially drawn (100%-500%) with respect to the original dimensions to induce porosity and then post-treated at elevated temperatures to stabilize the resultant structure, which consisted of uniform microcracks in the order of a few nanometers in width. The effects of blend composition and extrusion process parameters on surface and cross-sectional porosity and solvent permeability of the prepared films are presented and related to specific microstructural features of the films before and after drawing. Finite element modeling of the stretching operation in the solid state yielded a successful interpretation of the blend response to uniaxial tension that resulted in microcrack formation. Comparison of some of the novel microporous structures of this work with commercial membranes prepared by solvent-based phase inversion processes suggests comparable pore size and porosity ranges, with narrower pore size distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry