Ultra-selective carbon molecular sieve membranes for natural gas separations based on a carbon-rich intrinsically microporous polyimide precursor

Khalid Hazazi, Xiaohua Ma, Yingge Wang, Wojciech Ogieglo, Abdulrahman Alhazmi, Yu Han, Ingo Pinnau

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

A highly contorted, carbon-rich intrinsically microporous polyimide (PIM-PI) made from spirobifluorene dianhydride and 3,3-dimethylnaphthidine (SBFDA-DMN) was employed as a precursor for the formation of carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membranes at pyrolysis temperatures from 550 to 1000 °C. The high carbon content of SBFDA-DMN (∼84%) resulted in only 28% total weight loss during pyrolysis under a nitrogen atmosphere at 1000 °C. The development of the various microstructural textures was characterized by gas sorption analysis, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area, X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, electrical conductivity, and gas transport properties. Heat treatment of a pristine SBFDA-DMN membrane at 550 °C resulted in reduced permeability for all gases (e.g.: PCO2 dropped from 4700 to 1500 barrer) as well as lower BET surface area from 621 to 545 m2 g−1. At 600 °C, new pores induced by pyrolysis increased the BET surface area to nearly that of the precursor and significantly improved gas separation performance. Above 600 °C, a progressive collapse of the micropores became evident with CMS membranes showing higher gas-pair selectivity but lower permeability. At 1000 °C, ultra-micropores comparable in size with the kinetic diameter of CH4 emerged and induced a prominent molecular sieving effect resulting in very high CH4 rejection. This strong size exclusion effect, further supported by gravimetric gas sorption measurements, resulted in unusually high N2/CH4 and CO2/CH4 selectivities of 35 and 1475, respectively.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume585
DOIs
StatePublished - May 10 2019

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