Network engineering of organosilica membranes for efficient pervaporation dehydration

Separation and Purification Technology(2024)

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In the petroleum industry, the mixing of ethanol (EtOH), isopropanol (IPA), and n-butanol (n-BuOH) with water is a prevalent occurrence in both production and recovery phases. Obtaining the required degree of purity via dehydration poses a significant challenge that needs to be addressed. Pervaporation has emerged as a promising method for separating azeotropic mixtures due to its energy efficiency and independence from vapor-liquid equilibrium constraints. In this study, organosilica precursors, namely 1,2-bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane (BTESE), 1,2-bis(triethoxysilyl)ethylene (BTESEthy), and 1,2-bis(triethoxysilyl)acetylene (BTESA), were utilized for the fabrication of organosilica membranes using the sol–gel method. Subsequently, these membranes were employed for pervaporation dehydration of EtOH, IPA, and n-BuOH. This study investigates the effect of the degree of unsaturation of the bridged group, feed composition, and C atom count of alcohol on membrane dehydration performance. The membranes demonstrated superior separation performance for the n-butanol/water mixtures compared to other alcohol/water systems investigated. In this particular context, BTESE membrane exhibited a significant separation factor, although accompanied by a reduced permeation flux. Conversely, BTESA membrane demonstrated a decreased separation factor but an increased permeation flux. The comparison between gas permeation and pervaporation highlighted that the separation mechanism was primarily governed by molecular sieving through the organosilica membranes.
Organosilica membrane,Pervaporation dehydration,Sol-gel,Alcohol/water separation,Molecular sieving
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