Novel silica membranes for high temeprature gas separations
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Membrane materials for gas separations span a wide range including polymers, metals, ceramics and composites. Our aim is to create economical hydrothermally stable membranes that can provide high H₂-CO₂ separation at a temperature of 300 degree Celsius, for application in the water-gas shift reactor process. The present work describes the development of novel silica and silica-titania membranes from the controlled oxidative thermolysis of polydimethylsiloxane. The scope of this thesis is fabrication of membranes, material characterization and preliminary gas permeation tests (35-80 degree Celsius) on PDMS derived silica membrane films. The developed membranes can withstand up to 350 degree C in air. High permeabilties of small gas penetrants like He, H₂ and CO₂ have been observed and fairly high separation factors of O₂/N₂=3, H₂/N₂= 14 and H₂/CH₄=11 have been obtained. As the temperature of operation increases, the permeability of hydrogen increases and the separation factor of H₂ from CO₂ increases. The silica membranes exhibit gas separation factors higher than the respective Knudsen values. Additionally, design and construction of a new high temperature gas permeation testing system is described, which will cater to gas permeation tests at temperatures up to 300 degree Celsius for future work. The thesis also includes a detailed plan for future studies on this topic of research.