Preparation of templated mesoporous silica membranes on macroporous a-alumina supports via direct coating of thixotropic polymeric sols

V. Boffa, Johan E. ten Elshof, David H.A. Blank

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A simple method for depositing mesoporous silica films directly on macroporous a-alumina supports is reported. A polymeric silica sol was prepared by hydrolysis of tetraethylorthosilicate in acid propanol in presence of hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide as template. The rheology of the sol was changed by a modified urea-based thixotropic agent, which was used in a concentration range between 2% and 10% on volume. The dynamic viscosity of the sol was measured as a function of shear rate. The rheology modifier was found to increase the viscosity of the sol and confer at the same time a thixotropic behavior to it. Long range order in the unmodified and modified materials was analyzed by XRD on powders after calcination at 500 C. It was found that the pore size increased with increasing concentration of additive, while the degree of order decreased until eventually, at high concentrations, the ordered porous structure collapsed completely. The gradual pore size increase at lower concentration is thought to be caused by swelling of the surfactant micelles by the rheology modifier. The modified sols were deposited via dip-coating on a-alumina disks. The morphology of the silica top layers was characterized by SEM. Pore size distributions and permeances of the prepared membranes were assessed by permporometry and single gas permeation measurements, respectively. The membranes had narrow pore size distributions, with an average diameter of about 2 nm. Permeabilities of H2, He, CH4 and O2 were compared. Hydrogen permeances up to 6 · 107 mol s1 m2 Pa1 were measured at 473 K. The gas flux across the membrane follows a Knudsen-type mechanism, as shown by the permselectivities.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalMicroporous and mesoporous materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • METIS-242612
  • IR-59178
  • Mesoporous Silica
  • Membranes
  • Rheology modifier
  • Sol–gel
  • Thixotropy

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