2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Gas Permeation and Separation in Nanoporous Zeolite Micromembranes

S.M. Kwan, Y.L. Leung and K.L. Yeung
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HK

Keywords:
microseparator, membrane, microsystem, MFI-type, Sil-1, ZSM-5

Abstract:
Zeolites and molecular sieves are ideal materials for micromembranes. Zeolites are capable of separating molecules by their size, shape and polarity. Close boiling compounds, isomers and azeotropes were successfully separated using zeolite membranes. The crystalline zeolites also have excellent mechanical strength and thermal stability, and are resistant to most acids, bases and organic solvents. This work describe the successfully fabrication of freestanding zeolite micromembranes on silicon substrate. The procedure involves pre-fabrication of support structure, followed by selective seeding and growth of oriented zeolite films. Low temperature template removal using ozone avoids the crack and defect formations associated with high temperature treatment methods. The zeolite micromembranes were tested for single gas permeation using permanent gases and hydrocarbon vapors. Excellent permselectivity with evidence of molecular sieving was observed from the experiments. The thickness and composition (i.e., Si/Al ratio) of ZSM-5 affects both the permeation and permselective of the membrane for the various gases. Binary (i.e., C3/N2, C4/N2), ternary (H2/CH4/CO2) and quarternary (H2/CH4/CO2/CO) separation experiments were also conducted to demonstrate that the zeolite micromembranes are efficient separator.

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