Sulfone Polymers for Membranes

Solvay’s sulfone polymers have been used to make membranes for over 25 years. They are soluble in conventional processing solvents and used to make hollow fiber, flat sheet and tubular membranes. Low cyclic dimer grades improve the stability of dope solutions, reduce filter clogging, and minimize manufacturing defects.

These high-temperature thermoplastics impart high fiber strength, toughness, rigidity and hydrolytic stability. This, combined with their excellent chemical resistance, enables membranes to tolerate a variety of feed streams and cleaning methods.

Excellent chemical resistance combined with hydrolytic stability, high strength and the ability to operate over a broad pH range makes these polymers the right choice for membranes used in demanding end-use environments.

Key Features

  • Excellent mechanical properties
  • Outstanding hydrolytic stability
  • Stable at pH levels from 2 to 13
  • Excellent biocompatibility
  • Easy to form MF and UF membranes
  • Low level of insolubles and extractibles
  • Sterilizable by steam, ethylene oxide and gamma radiation
  • Global agency approvals

 

  Pellets Powders Typical Mol. Wt. [Mw (x103)]
Udel® PSU  P-1700 LCD   67–72
  P-3500 LCD   75–81
Veradel® PESU    3000MP 64–68
    3000P 62–64
    3100P 52–55
    3200P 45–47
Radel® PPSU  R-5000   52–55
  R-5500   55–59

 

Udel® PSU

Udel® PSU (polysulfone) has been used successfully in a wide variety of membrane applications for over 25 years. It is the most cost-effective member of our sulfone polymers family and has become the industry standard in both reverse osmosis and hemodialysis membranes.

Typical Applications

  • Hemodialysis
  • RO/NF composite membrane support layer
  • Low pressure water filtration
  • Bioprocessing
  • Food and beverage
  • Gas separation

 

Key Features Key Benefits
  • Excellent mechanical properties
  • Outstanding hydrolytic stability
  • Stable at pH levels from 2 to 13
  • Easy to form MF and UF membranes
  • Soluble in conventional processing solvents
  • Low level of cyclic dimer and higher oligomers
  • Low level of insolubles and extractibles
  • Excellent biocompatibility
  • Sterilizable by steam, ethylene oxide and gamma radiation
  • Global agency approvals for drinking water, food contact and healthcare applications
  • Membranes with high flux and tailored selectivity
  • Improved stability of dope solutions
  • Minimize fiber breakage
  • Reduce equipment clogging and fouling
  • Minimal manufacturing defects

 

Veradel® PESU

Veradel® PESU (polyethersulfone) offers many of the same features as Udel polysulfone with the added benefit of high heat resistance. This high-performance polymer can be used to make hollow fiber, tubular and flat sheet types of MF and UF membranes. Powder grades are available for ease of dissolution in conventional processing solvents.

Typical Applications

  • Low pressure water filtration
  • Food and beverage processing
  • Industrial filtration

 

Key Features Key Benefits
  • Very high heat resistance
  • High mechanical strength and
  • creep resistance
  • Stable at pH levels from 2 to 13
  • Excellent hydrolytic stability
  • Good resistance to sodium hypochlorite
  • Global agency approvals
  • Suitable for higher temperature applications
  • Withstands aggressive cleaning programs
  • High membrane durability and long life

 

Radel® PPSU

Radel® PPSU (polyphenylsulfone) gives membranes an extra margin of toughness and chemical resistance. It offers the best chemical resistance of any sulfone polymer and can withstand over 1,000 cycles of steam sterilization.

Typical Applications

  • Bioprocessing
  • Food and beverage
  • Industrial
Physical Properties
Physical Properties            
Property Test Method Units Udel® 
P-1700
 
LCD,
 
P-1800
Udel® 
P-3500
 
LCD,
 
P-1835
Veradel® 
3000P,
 
3100P,
 
3200P
Radel® 
R-5000,
 
R-5500
Form     pellet, powder pellet, powder powder pellet
Density ASTM 
D 792
g/cm3 1.24 1.24 1.37 1.29
Molecular Weight, 
Mw
GPC g/mol (x103) 67-72 75-81 62-64, 52-55, 
45-47
52-55, 55-59
Polydispersity GPC   3.5 3.6 3.2-3.9 2.6
Solution Viscosity 
25% in DMAC 
40°C, 30 s-1
  cp 1,000- 
1,800
1,800- 
3,000
1,225-1,650, 
700-900, 
420-550
~2,200
Melt Flow Index ASTM D 1238 g/10 min 5.0-9.0(1) 2.0-4.9(1)   14-20, 12-17(2)
Water Absorption 
24 hours, 23°C
ASTM D 570 % 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.37

(1)Melt flow condition 343°C, 2.16 kg 
(2)Melt flow condition 365°C, 5.0 kg

Mechanical Properties
Mechanical Properties             
Property Test Method Units Udel® 
P-1700
 
LCD,
 
P-1800
Udel® 
P-3500
 
LCD,
 
P-1835
Veradel® 
3000P,
 
3100P,
 
3200P
Radel® 
R-5000,
 
R-5500
Tensile Strength 
at Yield
ASTM 
D 638
psi 
MPa
10,200 
70
10,200 
70
12,900 
90
10,100 
70
Tensile Modulus ASTM 
D 638
kpsi 
MPa
360 
2,480
360 
2,480
400 
2,800
340 
2,300
Tensile Elongation 
at Yield
ASTM 
D 638
% 5.7 5.7 6.5 7.2
Tensile Elongation 
at Break
ASTM 
D 638
% 50-100 50-100 30-60 60-120
Flexural Strength ASTM 
D 790
psi 
MPa
15,400 
106
15,400 
106
17,500 
121
15,200 
105
Flexural Modulus ASTM 
D 790
kpsi 
MPa
390 
2,690
390 
2,690
400 
2,800
350 
2,400

 

Thermal Properties
Thermal Properties            
Property Test Method Units Udel® 
P-1700 
LCD, 
P-1800
Udel® 
P-3500 
LCD, 
P-1835
Veradel® 
3000P, 
3100P, 
3200P
Radel® 
R-5000, 
R-5500
Glass Transition 
Temperature
ASTM 
D 3418
°C 190 190 220 220
Heat Deflection 
Temperature 
264 psi (1.8 MPa)
ASTM 
D 648
°C 174 174 204 207
Chemical Resistance
Chemical Resistance*        
Property Udel® 
P-1700
 
LCD,
 
P-1800
Udel® 
P-3500
 
LCD,
 
P-1835
Veradel® 
3000P,
 
3100P,
 
3200P
Radel® 
R-5000,
 
R-5500
Hydrolytic Stability + + + +
Acids + + + +
Alkali + + +  
Aliphatic Hydrocarbons 0 0 + +
Aromatic Hydrocarbons - - 0 0
Aliphatic Alcohols 0 0 + +
Chlorinated Hydrocarbons - - - 0
Dipolar Aprotic Solvents - - - -
Chlorine + + + +
Ozone + + + +
Sterilization by Gamma Rays + + + +
Sterilization by Steam + + + +

KEY

+ Polymer is resistant. Any increase in weight is less than 2% and any decrease in weight is less than 0.3%. The tensile yield strength is at least 85% of the initial value. 
0 Use of polymer is limited. Response does not meet above criteria. For example, weight increase may be more than 2%. However, the polymer can be used if stress is low. 
>– Polymer is not resistant. There is considerable alteration of the polymer, such as dissolution or chemical or physical degradation.

* Internal test method. Ratings give a general indication.

 

Chemical Resistance*      
Reagent Udel® PSU Veradel® PESU  Radel® PPSU 
n-Butane E E E
Benzene SA SA F
Toluene SA SA F
Ethanol G G E
Methyl Ethyl Ketone SA SA E
1,1,1-Trichloroethane SA SA F
Carbon Tetrachloride G G G
Hydrochloric Acid, 20% E E E
Sodium Hydroxide, 10% E E E

KEY

E Excellent. No change. 
G Good. Minor attack. No serious loss of properties. 
F Fair. Some attack. Some useful properties remain. 
SA Severe attack or rupture.

* Internal test method. Ratings give a general indication.

Solvents
Solvents*    
Udel® PSU Veradel® PESU Radel® PPSU
NMP NMP NMP
DMF DMF DMF
DMAC DMAC DMAC
Pyrridine Pyrridine Pyrridine
2-Pyrrolidone    
Chloroform    
Methylene Chloride    
Tetrahydrofuran    

Abbreviations

NMP N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone 
DMF N,N-Dimethyl Formamide 
DMAC N,N-Dimethylacetamide


*Dissolves 10% (wt/wt) cold

Agency Approvals
Agency Approvals for Sulfone Polymers    
  Udel® PSU Radel® PPSU
Food Contact    
FDA All base resins comply 
with 177.1655
All base resins comply with FCN #83
EC Directive All base resins comply with 90/128/EEC and its amendments All base resins comply with 90/128/EEC and its amendments
NSF 51 P-1700 NT 11 
P-3703 NT
R-5000
Water Contact    
NSF 61 
85° C
P-1700 NT 
P-1700 NT LCD 
P-3500 NT LCD 
P-3500 NT
R-5000 NT
WRc 
85° C
P-1700 NT 11 
P-3500 NT LCD
R-5000 NT
KTW 
90° C
P-1700 NT 11 
P-3500 NT 11
None

For further specifications and details regarding these agency approvals, please 
contact your local sales representative.