PolyPOSS-imide membranes are promising for separating H2 from larger molecules (CO2, N2, CH4) at temperatures up to 300 °C. Their fabrication involves two steps: interfacial polymerization of POSS and 6FDA, followed by thermal imidization. This work provides a systematic study of the effects of cations on membrane properties and performance. For this, two distinct POSS molecules were used: functionalized with -NH3+Cl or, so far unexplored, -NH2. The ammonium groups are partially deprotonated by using three different bases, LiOH, NaOH, and KOH. We demonstrate that the introduced cations affect the film thickness but not the molecular composition of the polyamic acid. All polyamic acids can be imidized, but the cations reduce the imidization kinetics as well as the loss of organic crosslinkers. For flat disc membranes, at 200 °C, the absence of cations results in comparable permeability combined with higher selectivity for H2/N2. This, and the possibility to discard adding a base, motivated a scale-up study of the new POSS. For tubular membranes, much higher ideal and mixed gas selectivities are found than for membranes where NaOH was added. Results indicate that the new route allows more reproducible production of defect free membranes and has potential for larger-scale polyPOSSimide fabrication.

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