Advanced crosslinkable polyimide membranes for aggressive sour gas separations
Kraftschik, Brian E.
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The glassy copolyimide 6FDA-DAM:DABA was investigated as a polymer backbone for membranes used in aggressive sour gas separation applications. An esterification crosslinking mechanism enabled the synthesis of materials with augmented H₂S/CH₄ selectivity and plasticization resistance. These materials make use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) crosslinking agents and are referred to as PEGMC polymers. Rigorous dense film characterization of the novel crosslinkable materials indicates that excellent H₂S/CH₄ selectivity (24) is achievable while still maintaining high CO₂/CH₄ selectivity (29) under high pressure ternary mixed gas (CO₂/H₂S/CH₄) feeds. Defect-free asymmetric hollow fiber membranes were formed and appropriate crosslinking conditions were determined, allowing for the characterization of these fibers under realistic sour gas feed conditions. Also, a PDMS post-treatment was used to give ultra-high permselectivity for aggressive feeds. Using several mixed gas feeds containing high concentrations of CO₂ and H₂S at feed pressures up to 700 psig, it is shown that the crosslinked asymmetric hollow fiber membranes developed and manufactured through this work are capable of maintaining excellent separation performance even under exceedingly taxing operating conditions. For example, CO₂/CH₄ and H₂S/CH₄ permselectivity values of 47 and 29, respectively, were obtained for a 5% H₂S, 45% CO₂, 50% CH₄ feed at 35°C with 700 psig feed pressure. An extremely aggressive 20% H₂S, 20% CO₂, 60% CH₄ mixed gas feed with 500 psig feed pressure was also used; the maximum CO₂/CH4 and H₂S/CH₄ permselectivity values were found to be 38 and 22, respectively.