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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489

Abstract

BISSETT, Hertzog  and  KRIEG, Henning M. Synthesis of a composite inorganic membrane for the separation of nitrogen, tetrafluoromethane and hexafluoropropylene. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2013, vol.109, n.9-10, pp. 01-08. ISSN 1996-7489.

The advanced use of inorganic membranes, such as zeolites, in large-scale industrial processes is hindered by the inability to manufacture continuous and defect-free membranes. We therefore aimed to construct such a defect-free membrane. Various zeolites were synthesised on the inner surface of a-alumina support tubes by a hydrothermal process. Gas permeation properties were investigated at 298 K for single component systems of N2, CF4 and C3F6. Ideal selectivities lower than Knudsen selectivities were obtained as a result of defects from intercrystalline slits and crack formation during synthesis and template removal. A composite ceramic membrane consisting of a ceramic support structure, a mordenite framework inverted intermediate zeolite layer and a Teflon AF 2400 top layer was developed to improve separation. The Teflon layer sealed possible defects present in the separation layer forcing the gas molecules to follow the path through the zeolite pores. Ideal selectivities of 88 and 71 were obtained for N2/CF4 and N2/C3F6 respectively. Adsorption experiments performed on materials present in the membrane structure suggested that although adsorption of C3F6 onto Teflon AF 2400 compared to CF4 results in a considerable contribution to permeation for the composite ceramic membrane, the sealing effect of the zeolite layer by the Teflon layer is the reason for the large N2/CF4 and N2/C3F6 selectivities obtained. The Teflon layer effectively sealed intercrystalline areas in-between zeolite crystals, which resulted in high ideal selectivies for N2/CF4 and N2/C3F6.

Keywords : N2; CF4; C3F6; zeolite; Teflon AF 2400; sealing layer; gas.

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