A new organic–inorganic hybrid membrane has been prepared with exceptional performance in dewatering applications. The only precursor used in the sol–gel synthesis of the selective layer was organically linked 1,2-bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane (BTESE). The microporous structure of this layer enables selective molecular sieving of small molecules from larger ones. In the dehydration of n-butanol with 5% of water, the membrane shows a high separation factor of over 4000 and ultra-fast water transport at a rate of more than 20 kg m−2 h−1 at 150 °C. This can be related to the high adsorption capacity of the material and the sub-micron thickness of the selective layer. The selectivity has now remained constant over almost one and a half years under continuous process testing conditions. Apart from the hydrothermal stability, the membrane exhibits a high tolerance for acid contamination. A slow performance decline in flux and separation factor is only observed at a pH lower than 2. The high stability and effective separation indicate a broad industrial application potential of the hybrid membrane material.
- Organic–inorganic hybrid
- Hydrothermal stability
- Microporous membrane
Castricum, H. L., Kreiter, R., van Veen, H. M., Blank, D. H. A., Vente, J. F., & ten Elshof, J. E. (2008). High-performance hybrid pervaporation membranes with superior hydrothermal and acid stability. Journal of membrane science, 324(1-2), 111-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2008.07.014