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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Chem. | doi: 10.3389/fchem.2019.00332

High Selective Mixed Membranes based on Mesoporous MCM-41 and MCM-41-NH2 Particles in a Polysulfone Matrix

  • 1National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies (ICSI), Romania
  • 2Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Materials Science, Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania

The development of membrane technology for gas separation processes evolved with the fabrication of so-called mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) as an alternative to neat polymers, in order to improve the overall membrane effectiveness. Once the mixed matrix membranes are used, the gas separation properties of the porous materials used as fillers are combined with the economical processability and desirable mechanical properties of polymer matrix.
Mixed mesoporous silica/polymer membranes with high CO2 and O2 permeability and selectivity were designed and prepared by incorporating MCM-41 particles into a polymer matrix. Ordered mesoporous silica MCM-41 with high surface confirmed by BET analysis were obtained and functionalized with amino groups. In order to obtain the mixed membranes, the mesoporous silica was embedded into the polysulfone matrix (PSF). Flat mixed matrix membranes with 5, 10 and 20 wt% MCM-41 and MCM-41-NH2 loadings have been prepared via casting polymer solutions method. The phase’s interactions were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetry (TGA), while the gas separation performances were evaluated using pure gases (CO2, O2, N2). The MCM-41/PSF and MCM-41-NH2/PSF membranes exhibited increased permeabilities for O2 (between 1.2-1.7 Barrer) and CO2 (between 4.2-8.1 Barrer) comparing to the neat membrane (0.8 Barrer). The loss of selectivity for O2/N2 (between 6-8%) and CO2/N2 (25-41%) gas pairs was not significant comparing with the pure membrane (8% and 39%, respectively). The MCM-41/PSF membranes were more selective for CO2/N2 than O2/N2 pair, due to the size difference between CO2 and N2 molecules and to the CO2 condensability, conducting to an increase of solubility. Stronger interactions have been noticed for MCM-41-NH2/PSF membranes due to the amino groups, the selectivity increasing for both gas pairs comparing with the MCM-41/PSF membranes.

Keywords: gas separation, Mixed matrix membrane (MMM), Nanoparticles, Polysulfone, Mesoporous silica (MCM-41)

Received: 31 Jan 2019; Accepted: 24 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Dirk Enke, Institut für Technische Chemie, Universität Leipzig, Germany

Reviewed by:

Wei Luo, Donghua University, China
Joaquin Coronas, University of Zaragoza, Spain  

Copyright: © 2019 Miricioiu, Iacob, Nechifor and Niculescu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Violeta C. Niculescu, National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies (ICSI), Râmnicu Vâlcea, 240050, Romania,