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Effect of seeding on the properties of mfi type zeolite membranes

Dinçer, Eser
The effect of seeding on the properties of alumina supported MFI membranes was investigated in this study. Membranes were synthesized from clear solutions with a molar batch composition of TPAOH:9.80SiO2:0.025NaOH:0.019Al2O3: 602.27H2O:39.16C2H5OH on bare and seeded alumina supports at 130oC in autoclaves. The amount of seed on the support surface was changed between 0.6 mg/cm2 and 6.9 mg/cm2 by vacuum seeding method, which provided uniform and closely packed seed layers. Membranes were characterized by XRD and SEM, and by measuring single gas permeances of N2, SF6, n-C4H10 and i-C4H10. The quality of membranes was evaluated on the basis of N2/SF6 ideal selectivity. Membranes, which showed N2/SF6 ideal selectivity higher than 40, were considered to be good quality, comprising few defects. Good quality membranes were also used to separate butane isomers. Membranes synthesized on seeded supports had compact and uniform MFI layer if the seed amount is less than 1.0 mg/cm2 on the support surface. Membranes that were synthesized on the supports coated with higher amount of seed crystals showed an asymmetric structure with a dense and uniform MFI layer at the top, the support at the bottom and a seed layer between. Half of the membranes synthesized on seeded supports had N2/SF6 ideal selectivity higher than 40. These membranes exhibited n-C4H10/i-C4H10 separation selectivities between 5 and 27 and 8 and 21 at room temperature and at 200oC, respectively. High ideal and separation selectivities showed that membranes did not include non-zeolitic pores. Membranes synthesized on bare support had non-uniform MFI layer. Those membranes showed N2/SF6 ideal selectivities below Knudsen selectivity, indicating the existence of large non-zeolitic pores in the MFI layer.