(584b) A Network Model of the Flow Perporometry Method Used in the Determination of the Pore Size Distribution of Porous SiC Membrane Supports

Mourhatch, R., University of Southern California
Tsotsis, T. T., University of Southern California
Sahimi, M., University of Southern California

Flow perporometry is a technique for determining the pore size distribution (PSD) of inorganic membranes. The basic principle of flow perporometry is based on the condensation of a liquid or a condensable vapor into the pore structure of a membrane and the blocking effect that it has on the permeation of a non-condensable gas. In this study we develop a three-dimensional network model of the technique. The model begins with the pore structure of the membrane, modeled by a three-dimensional network of interconnected pores, initially filled with a wetting fluid (WF). The model faithfully simulates the phenomena that take place during the application of the technique, whereby as the pressure drop of the non-wetting fluid (NWF) increases across the membrane it starts displacing the WF. At the pore-network level, this problem is modeled by invasion percolation, in which the front separating the two fluids advances by penetrating the pore at the front with the smallest capillary pressure. Eventually, the NWF finds a percolating path with a lowest resistance to the other side of the network. The flow perporometry model has been utilized to model the experimental data with SiC and alumina membrane supports in order to generate a more realistic PSD than those which are currently generated using the parallel, non-intersecting pore models.