Silica Derived Membranes for Dehydration of Aqueous Ethanol

Chua, Ching Wui (2004). Silica Derived Membranes for Dehydration of Aqueous Ethanol B.Sc Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Chua, Ching Wui
Thesis Title Silica Derived Membranes for Dehydration of Aqueous Ethanol
School, Centre or Institute School of Chemical Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Joe Da Costa
Mikel Duke
Total pages 56
Language eng
Subjects 0904 Chemical Engineering
Formatted abstract
Molecular sieving silica (MSS) membranes are novel amorphous microporous membranes with well defined pore structures. Current industrial applications of MSS membranes were used for recovery or purification of hydrogen gases. The superior separation performance of silica based membranes had raised the interest even further in applications of dehydration of alcohols at elevated temperatures.

Molecular sieve silica membrane has yielded promising results for the dehydration of lower alcohols (ethanol), having high fluxes and selectivity. The pervaporation experiments were conducted in a range of temperatures at 25, 50 and 75°C with various concentrations of aqueous ethanol. This study have shown some interesting findings such as the occurrence of highest mass fluxes at an operating temperature of 50°C instead of 75°C and with respect to the operating temperatures, a minimum mass fluxes were observed at concentrations of 10 - 20% (v/v) aqueous ethanol solvents despite the fact that maximum viscosity of the solvent occurs at 50% (v/v) thus challenging the viscosity additivity rule.

Characterisation of MSS and CTMSS silica gel samples has shown a possible potential for CTMSS membranes in the application of pervaporation of aqueous ethanol. NOVA results show that CTMSS has a lower surface area of 423 m²/g and lower pore volume of 0.23 cm³/g compared to MSS with a surface area of 495 m²/g and a pore volume of 0.25 cm³/g. However, according to the water and ethanol vapour adsorption results which indicate some resistances in the adsorption of water vapour for MSS samples due to its hydrophobic nature, should also be taken account.
Keyword MSS membranes
alcohol dehydration

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