Abstract The poor mechanical strength of graphene oxide (GO) membranes, caused by the weak interlamellar interactions, poses a critical challenge for any practical application. In addition, intrinsic but large-sized 2D channels of stacked GO membranes lead to low selectivity for small molecules. To address the mechanical strength and 2D channel size control, thiourea covalent-linked graphene oxide framework (TU-GOF) membranes on porous ceramics are developed through a facile hydrothermal self-assembly synthesis. With this strategy, thiourea-bridged GO laminates periodically through the dehydration condensation reactions via NH2 and/or SH with OCOH as well as the nucleophilic addition reactions of NH2 to COC, leading to narrowed and structurally well-defined 2D channels due to the small dimension of the covalent TU-link and the deoxygenated processes. The resultant TU-GOF/ceramic composite membranes feature excellent sieving capabilities for small species, leading to high hydrogen permselectivities and nearly complete rejections for methanol and small ions in gas, solvent, and saline water separations. Moreover, the covalent bonding formed at the GO/support and GO/GO interfaces endows the composite membrane with significantly enhanced stability. A thiourea bridging graphene oxide framework membrane, which is defect-free, and robust, and has narrowed and structurally well-defined 2D channels, is prepared facilely by self-assembly. This membrane exhibits excellent hydrogen permselectivity and complete rejection for the smallest alcohol.
Published in: "Advanced Materials".