Adsorption of poly(methyl methacrylate) on concave Al2O3 surfaces in nanoporous membranes


Nunnery G, Hershkovits E, Tannenbaum A, Tannenbaum R. Adsorption of poly(methyl methacrylate) on concave Al2O3 surfaces in nanoporous membranes. Langmuir. 2009;25 (16) :9157-63.

Date Published:

2009 Aug 18


The objective of this study was to determine the influence of polymer molecular weight and surface curvature on the adsorption of polymers onto concave surfaces. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) of various molecular weights was adsorbed onto porous aluminum oxide membranes having various pore sizes, ranging from 32 to 220 nm. The surface coverage, expressed as repeat units per unit surface area, was observed to vary linearly with molecular weight for molecular weights below approximately 120,000 g/mol. The coverage was independent of molecular weight above this critical molar mass, as was previously reported for the adsorption of PMMA on convex surfaces. Furthermore, the coverage varied linearly with pore size. A theoretical model was developed to describe curvature-dependent adsorption by considering the density gradient that exists between the surface and the edge of the adsorption layer. According to this model, the density gradient of the adsorbed polymer segments scales inversely with particle size, while the total coverage scales linearly with particle size, in good agreement with experiment. These results show that the details of the adsorption of polymers onto concave surfaces with cylindrical geometries can be used to calculate molecular weight (below a critical molecular weight) if pore size is known. Conversely, pore size can also be determined with similar adsorption experiments. Most significantly, for polymers above a critical molecular weight, the precise molecular weight need not be known in order to determine pore size. Moreover, the adsorption developed and validated in this work can be used to predict coverage also onto surfaces with different geometries.
Last updated on 01/24/2017