This study details the construction and operation of a dry-jet wet spinning apparatus for extruding hollow fiber membranes (HFMs). The main components of the apparatus are a spinneret, a coagulation bath, and an automatic collection reel. Continuous fiber formation was achieved using two syringe pumps simultaneously delivering polymer dope and bore fluid to the spinneret. Based on apparatus runs performed with Polysulfone (PSF) dopes dissolved in N,N-Dimethylacetamide and supporting rheological analysis, the entanglement concentration, ce, was identified as a minimum processing threshold for creating HFMs. Similarly, significant increases in the ultimate tensile strength, fracture strain, and Young's modulus for extruded HFMs were observed as polymer dope concentration was increased at levels near ce. Beyond this initial increase, subsequent tests at higher PSF concentrations yielded diminishing changes in mechanical properties, suggesting an asymptotic approach to a point where the trend would cease. Without further research, it is theorized that this point falls on a transition from the semidiute entangled to concentrated concentration regimes. SEM imaging of samples revealed the formation of grooved structures on the inner surface of samples, which was determined to be a result of the low flowrate and polymer dope concentrations used in processing the HFMs during apparatus runs. Based on continued operation of the preliminary apparatus design, many areas of improvement were noted. Namely, these consisted of controlling the collector speed, eliminating rubbing of nascent fibers against the edge of the coagulation bath by installing an elevated roller, and replacing tygon tubing for the polymer line with a luer lock adapter for direct syringe attachment to the spinneret.
- Construction and Operation of a Hollow Fiber Membrane Spinning Apparatus