Continuous production of porous hollow fiber mixed matrix membranes for gas separation

Authors: Razzaz, Zahir
Advisor: Rodrigue, Denis
Abstract: This work presents a novel solvent-free method to produce hollow fiber membranes for gas separation. The technology is based on continuous extrusion followed by stretching of foamed polyethylene having a high cell density and uniform cell size distribution. To achieve this objective, a systematic experimental optimization was applied to produce a rich and uniform foam morphology and to develop a suitable structure for gas separation membrane performance. From the samples obtained, a complete set of characterizations including morphological, mechanical, physical and gas transport was performed. In particular, the separation performances were investigated for different gases (CO₂, CH₄, N₂, O₂ and H₂). The first step was to combine linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) with a chemical blowing agent (azodicarbonamide, CBA) to optimize the processing in terms of CBA content and temperature profile along with stretching velocity. The results confirmed that samples with a higher cell density can improve the membrane gas permeation properties.The second part investigated the addition of low density polyethylene (LPDE) to improve the cellular structure by having a higher cell density and using higher stretching speed. It was found that a LLDPE/LDPE (70/30) blend increased the cell density by a factor of 10 times and also decreased the foam thickness by 50% compared to neat LLDPE foams. In the third part, nanoparticle addition was investigated and found to be a very effective strategy to further improve the cellular structure via a heterogeneous nucleation effect. The results showed that the introduction of porous zeolite (5A) as a cell nucleation agent/gas permeation modifier, substantially improved the foam cell density (1.2×10⁹ cells/cm³) while decreasing the average cell size (30 μm). The membrane properties for this optimized mixed matrix foam membrane (MMFM) were also significantly improved, especially at 15 wt.% zeolite as the H2 permeance, as well as H₂/CH₄ and H₂/N₂ selectivity were increased by 6.9, 3.8 and 5.9 times respectively, compared to the unfoamed neat (unfilled) matrix. Hence, a combination of particle addition (cell structure), stretching (internal surface area) and foaming (porosity) led to the production of a multi-porous structure inside the membranes to improve the gas transport properties. It is expected that these MMFM can be efficient and cost-effective in terms of processing rate (continuous method), especially for the petroleum industry where H₂/CH₄ and H₂/N₂ separation are essential for H2 purification.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 7 August 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/35837
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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