211. Tailoring pore structure and surface chemistry of microporous Alumina-Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes (Al-CMSMs) by altering carbonization temperature for optimal gas separation performance: An investigation using low-field NMR relaxation measurements

LukeForster, Carmine D'Agostino, Margot Anabell Llosa-Tanco, Vincenzo Spallina, Camilla Brencio, Fausto Gallucci, Matthew Lindley, Sarah J. Haigh, David Alfredo Pacheco-Tanaka; Chemical Engineering Journal; (2021); DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2021.129313

In this work we applied low-field, NMR spin-lattice measurements to evaluate for the first time the effect of carbonization temperature (range 600 - 1000 ℃) on the preparation of Alumina-Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes (Al-CMSMs), providing new insights into intra-pore fluid interactions. The results show that the average Al-CMSM pore size generally increases with carbonization temperature whilst the hydrophilicity of the pore surface, and the amount of strongly adsorbed H2O, decreases with an increasing carbonization temperature. As such, lower carbonization temperatures produce more hydrophilic membranes, with further evidence provided by FTIR measurements demonstrating the presence of polar functional groups on the surface, with water interacting more strongly with the membrane surface, as evidenced by NMR.

It was found that the Al-CMSM carbonization temperature significantly affected permeance and H2O/CH4 permselectivity by altering the membrane pore size distribution and pore hydrophilicity. H2O permeance values are seen to be up to 100 times larger than respective CH4 permeance values. The greater permeance of H2O is attributed to the larger kinetic diameter of CH4 relative to H2O and the adsorption of water in the hydrophilic pores enhancing the adsorption-diffusion transport mechanism. Optimal water permeation temperatures are thus higher for the more hydrophilic membranes, obtained at lower carbonization temperatures, as more energy is required to remove strongly adsorbed water blocking the pores. At higher carbonization temperatures, the Knudsen diffusion mechanism of permeance dominates over the adsorption-diffusion mechanism thereby reducing permeance as diffusion slows due to collisions between gas molecules and the pore walls. CH4 permeation always occurs via Knudsen diffusion with CH4 permeance increasing with permeation temperature due to the increased rate of CH4 diffusion.