Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol.52, No.3, 1015-1022, 2013
Characterization of Thermally Cross-Linkable Hollow Fiber Membranes for Natural Gas Separation
The performance of thermally cross-linkable hollow fiber membranes for CO2/CH4 separation and the membrane stability against CO2 plasticization was investigated. The fiber membranes were thermally cross-linked at various conditions. Cross-linking temperature was found to have a significant effect, while shorter soak time and the presence of trace oxidizer (O-2 or N2O) had a negligible effect. The cross-linked fibers were tested using high CO2 content feeds (50-70% CO2) at a variety of feed pressures (up to 1000 psia), temperatures, and permeate pressures (up to 100 psia) to evaluate membrane performance under various realistic operating conditions. The results demonstrated that cross-linking improves membrane selectivity and effectively eliminates swelling-induced hydrocarbon loss at high pressures. Excellent stability under aggressive feeds (with CO2 partial pressure up to 700 psia) suggests that cross-linked hollow fiber membranes have great potential for use in diverse aggressive applications, even beyond the CO2/CH4 example explored in this work.