Effects of Porous Supports in Thin-Film Composite Membranes on CO<inf>2</inf> Separation Performances
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMembranes. 2023, 13 (3), . 10.3390/membranes13030359
Despite numerous publications on membrane materials and the fabrication of thin-film composite (TFC) membranes for CO2 separation in recent decades, the effects of porous supports on TFC membrane performance have rarely been reported, especially when humid conditions are concerned. In this work, six commonly used porous supports were investigated to study their effects on membrane morphology and the gas transport properties of TFC membranes. Two common membrane materials, Pebax and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), were employed as selective layers to make sample membranes. The fabricated TFC membranes were tested under humid conditions, and the effect of water vapor on gas permeation in the supports was studied. The experiments showed that all membranes exhibited notably different performances under dry or humid conditions. For polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and poly(ether sulfones) (PESF) membranes, the water vapor easily condenses in the pores of these supports, thus sharply increasing the mass transfer resistance. The effect of water vapor is less in the case of polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) and polysulfone (PSF), showing better long-term stability. Porous supports significantly contribute to the overall mass transfer resistance. The presence of water vapor worsens the mass transfer in the porous support due to the pore condensation and support material swelling. The membrane fabrication condition must be optimized to avoid pore condensation and maintain good separation performance.