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Fabrication of porous chitin membrane using ionic liquid and subsequent characterization and modelling studies

Chakravarty, Jayashree, Rabbi, Md. Fazlay, Bach, Nicholas, Chalivendra, Vijay, Yang, Chen-Lu, Brigham, Christopher J.
Carbohydrate polymers 2018 v.198 pp. 443-451
acetates, biobased products, biopolymers, chitin, empirical models, freeze drying, green chemistry, ionic liquids, porosity, prediction, tensile strength
The application of green chemistry principles for the processing of biopolymers is a steadily increasing field of research. Chitin membranes were successfully prepared by using the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2mim][OAc]) as solvent media. The resulting materials were thoroughly characterized, revealing that freeze drying produced membranes that were highly porous. The drying methods and the concentration of chitin used defined many of the membrane properties, such as mechanical strength, porosity, and water absorbency. From these data, an empirical model was generated which could be used to correlate the different membrane properties. The model could be used to predict the properties of the chitin membrane made with different wt% of chitin-IL solutions, and the predicted values aligned with the experimental results. This allowed for prediction of the properties of the chitin membrane (e.g., tensile strength) and gives the ability to tune the properties of the biomaterial. The methods and structures described here provide a starting point for the design and fabrication of a family of polysaccharide-based sustainable materials with potentially broad applicability.