A series of built-up thin films composed of polymer and liquid crystal (LC) was prepared by spreading a single drop of mixture solution on a water surface. The weight fraction of LC in the composite membrane was 60%. The thickness and the aggregation state of the water-cast membrane can be controlled by the kind of solvent and the concentration of the mixture solution. Liquid crystalline material forms a continuous phase in the three-dimensional spongy network of the polymer matrix. Therefore, the liquid crystalline phase can play the role of a low viscous diffusing phase for permeants such as gases or metal ions. The novel polymer/LC composite membranes can be applied to oxygen enrichment, molecular filtration, active transport of metal cations and complete thermocontrol of ion permeation.
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