Water and water vapor sorption studies in polypropylene-zeolite composites
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Water and water vapor sorption to porous polypropylene-zeolite composites prepared by hot pressing have been studied as a function of zeolite loading. This work presents the first report on the effect of the zeolite as a filler on the water-sorption properties of PP composites. Water swelling experiments were conducted at 25°C using pure PP and PP-zeolite films samples having different zeolite loadings (6-40 wt %). Because PP is a hydrophobic polymer, it does not sorp any water, but the composites having 10, 20, 30, and 40% zeolites have sorbed 0.63, 1.00, 1.72 and 3.74% water, respectively. The zeolite itself at the same conditions sorbed 24.5% water. As the filler loading in the composites increased, equilibrium uptake values increased also. On the other hand, water vapor sorption and kinetics has been studied using a Cahn 2000 gravimetric sorption system. Within in the range of 0.35-0.95% water vapor was adsorbed by the composites containing 10-40 wt % zeolites. Experimental effective water vapor diffusivities of the composite films was about one order of magnitude higher (10-fold) than the experimental water diffusion coefficient in composites. The transport of water in composites was slower than that in the liquid water due to the longer diffusion pathway and adsorption on the surface of the composites. Although the liquid water may fill all the voids in the composite, water vapor is adsorbed on the surface of the zeolite only.