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Synthesis of mfı type zeolite membranes in a continuous system

Çulfaz, Pınar Zeynep
MFI type zeolites, are the most widely studied zeolites for membrane separations. Conventionally, zeolite membranes are prepared in batch systems by hydrothermal synthesis in autoclaves. This method has several disadvantages for use in industrial scale for the synthesis of membranes with large areas and complex geometries that are commonly used in membrane modules. The objective of this study is to prepare MFI type zeolite membranes on tubular alumina supports in a continuous system where the synthesis solution is circulated through the tubular supports. Syntheses were carried out using clear solutions, at atmospheric pressure and at temperatures below 100°C. The membranes were characterized by N2, SF6, n-butane and isobutane permeances, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. A 2-æm membrane was synthesized using the composition 80SiO2: 16TPAOH: 1536H2O at 95°C in the continuous system. The membrane showed N2 permeance of 4.4 x 10-7 mol/m2.s.Pa and N2/SF6 selectivity of 11. The membrane synthesized in the batch system showed a N2 permeance of 3.4 x 10-7 mol/m2.s.Pa and a N2/SF6 selectivity of 27. Both membranes showed n-butane/isobutane mixture (50%-50%) selectivities of about 6 at temperatures of 150 and 200°C. Among many zeolite membranes reported in literature, these membranes are one of the few zeolite membranes synthesized in a flow system and the first MFI type membranes synthesized in a continuous flow system with circulation of the synthesis solution. The permeances and selectivities of the membranes synthesized in the continuous system are comparable with the MFI type membranes synthesized in batch systems in literature.