Water-Ethanol Separation Using MFI Zeolite Membranes
Zeolites are porous silicate materials with pore sizes similar to industrially important molecules (water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, etc.). Zeolites are used in gas separation (due to their sieving effect), catalysis (due to their shape selectivity), adsorption, and other applications. In the Tsapatsis group, zeolite nanoparticles with lamellar morphologies (zeolite nanosheets) are developed for gas separation, and catalysis. They have also published the use of 2D zeolites to form the thinnest zeolite films ever reported on porous and non porous supports. Because of the thin dimension of the nanosheets, the zeolite nanosheets give higher flux for gas separation applications, and enhance diffusion in catalysis.
The group is currently examining the water-ethanol separation through these membranes. The modeling work requires adsorption coefficients and diffusion coefficients. These coefficients are obtained through molecular dynamics simulations and the researchers are currently in progress to obtain them.
In another project, the researchers are using density functional theory calculations to help investigate the role structure directing agent (SDA) molecules play in controlling the growth of these zeolite thin films.
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