Pervaporation of ethanol/water mixtures by zeolite a membranes synthesized in batch and flow systems

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2011




Zeolite A membranes have great potential in pervaporation separation of ethanol/water mixtures with high flux and selectivity. Zeolite membranes usually synthesized from hydrogels in batch systems. In recent years, zeolite membranes are prepared in semicontinuous, continuous and recirculating flow systems to allow the synthesis of zeolite membranes with enlarged surface areas and to overcome the limitations of batch system at industrial level production. The purpose of this study is to develop a synthesis method for the preparation of good quality zeolite A membranes in a recirculated flow system from hydrogels and to test the separation performance of the synthesized membranes by pervaporation of ethanol/water mixture. In this context, three different experimental synthesis parameters were investigated with zeolite A membranes synthesized in batch system. These parameters were the composition of the starting synthesis hydrogel, silica source and the seeding technique. Syntheses were carried out using hydrogels at atmospheric pressure and at 95 °C. The membranes were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and pervaporation of 90 wt% ethanol-10 wt% water mixtures. v Pure zeolite A membranes were synthesized both in batch and flow systems. The membranes synthesized in batch system have fluxes around 0.2-0.3 kg/m2h and selectivities in the range of 10-100. Membranes with higher selectivities were obtained in batch system by using waterglass as silica source, seeding by dip-coating wiping method, and with a batch composition of 3.4Na2O:Al2O3:2SiO2:155H2O. The membranes prepared in flow system have higher pervaporation performances than the ones prepared in batch system in considering both flux and the selectivity. Fluxes were around 0.3-3.7 kg/m2h and selectivities were in the range of 102-104 for the membranes prepared in flow system which are comparable with the data reported in literature for batch and flow systems. A high quality zeolite A membrane was also synthesized from 3.4Na2O:Al2O3:2SiO2:200H2O hydrogel at 95 °C for 17 hours in flow system. Pervaporation flux of this membrane was 1.2 kg/m2h with a selectivity >25,000 at 50°C. Although the synthesis method is resulted with high quality membrane, reproducibility of the synthesis method is poor and it should be improved.