The present work demonstrates the fabrication of novel thin film\nnanocomposite membranes incorporating surface functionalized Silicon\nnanoparticles (average size 15-20 nm) for removal of water vapor from\nnitrogen gas. Silicon nanoparticles were synthesized using the\ninductively coupled plasma (ICP) technique. The nanoparticles were\ndispersed in deionized water to introduce hydroxyl functional groups on\nthe surface. The surface functionalization was confirmed by infrared\nspectroscopy. The effect of nano-Si concentration on the water vapor\npermeation properties of the TFN membranes was investigated in detail.\nThe hydroxyl functional groups resulted in significant improvement of\nsurface hydrophilicity and roughness of the nanocomposite membranes\nwhich in turn enhanced the water solubilization. The small size of\nnanoparticles permitted extensive interaction between the nanoparticles\nand the thin film polyamide layer. Increase in the nano-Si concentration\nresulted in improvement of water vapor permeance and selectivity till\n0.5 w/w%, above which the selectivity decreased because of the\ninterference in interfacial polymerization reaction due to the dilution\nof aqueous phase monomer and high loading of nanoparticles. Water vapor\npermeance in excess of 2200 GPU with vapor/N-2 selectivity of 501 was\nobtained when the nano-Si loading was 0.5 wiw%. The introduction of\nnano-Si in the polyamide membrane improved the stability of the\nnanocomposite membrane such that it slightly resisted the decrease in\nwater vapor permeance with operating temperature. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V.\nAll rights reserved.