Design and characterization of zeolite membranes for fluid separation

  • Islam Hussain

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Experimental and theoretical methods have been used to study zeolite structures, properties and applications as membranes for separation purposes. Thin layers of silicalite-1 and Na-LTA zeolites have been synthesised onto carbon-graphite supports using a hydrothermal synthesis procedure. The separation behaviour of the composite membranes was characterized by gas permeation studies of pure, binary and ternary mixtures of methane, ethane and propane. The influence of temperature and feed gas mixture composition on the separation and selectivity performance of the membranes was also investigated. It was found that the silicalite-1 composite membranes synthesised onto the 4 hour oxidized carbon-graphite supports showed the most promising separation behaviour of all the composite membranes investigated.
Molecular simulation methods were used to gain an understanding of how hydrocarbon molecules behave both within the pores and on the surfaces of silicalite-1, mordenite and LTA zeolites. Molecular dynamic simulations were used to investigate the influence of temperature and molecular loadings on the diffusional behaviour of hydrocarbons in zeolites.
Both hydroxylated (surface termination with hydroxyl groups) and non-hydroxylated silicalite-1 and Na-mordenite surfaces were generated. For both zeolites the most stable surfaces correspond to the {010} surface. For the silicalite-1 {010} surface the adsorption of hydrocarbons and molecular water onto the hydroxylated surface showed a favourable exothermic adsorption process compared to adsorption on the non-hydroxylated surface. With the Na-mordenite {010} surface the adsorption of hydrocarbons onto both the hydroxylated and non-hydroxylated surfaces had a combination of favourable and non-favourable adsorption energies, while the adsorption of molecular water onto both types of surface was found to be a favourable adsorption process.
Date of AwardJul 2006
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJames O Titiloye (Supervisor)


  • alkanes
  • carbon-graphite
  • separation
  • molecular simulation
  • microporous

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