Liquid gating elastomeric porous system with dynamically controllable gas/liquid transport

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Science Advances  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, eaao6724
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6724

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The development of membrane technology is central to fields ranging from resource harvesting to medicine, but the existing designs are unable to handle the complex sorting of multiphase substances required for many systems. Especially, the dynamic multiphase transport and separation under a steady-state applied pressure have great benefits for membrane science, but have not been realized at present. Moreover, the incorporation of precisely dynamic control with avoidance of contamination of membranes remains elusive. We show a versatile strategy for creating elastomeric microporous membrane-based systems that can finely control and dynamically modulate the sorting of a wide range of gases and liquids under a steady-state applied pressure, nearly eliminate fouling, and can be easily applied over many size scales, pressures, and environments. Experiments and theoretical calculation demonstrate the stability of our system and the tunability of the critical pressure. Dynamic transport of gas and liquid can be achieved through our gating interfacial design and the controllable pores’ deformation without changing the applied pressure. Therefore, we believe that this system will bring new opportunities for many applications, such as gas-involved chemical reactions, fuel cells, multiphase separation, multiphase flow, multiphase microreactors, colloidal particle synthesis, and sizing nano/microparticles.

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