(559ac) Hydrogen Isotope Separation By a Palladium-Based Membrane

Authors: 
Means, N. C., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Howard, B. H., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Haynes, D. J., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Shekhawat, D., National Energy Technology Laboratory
The separation of hydrogen isotopes is an important technique for many technologies and scientific applications. Hydrogen isotope separation may be achieved using a membrane because of permeability differences between protium (H) and deuterium (D). The membrane permeability is proportional to the product of the solubility and diffusivity of the hydrogen/palladium system. The permeability of H and D were evaluated from a gas mixture containing 4 vol % D2 – 96 vol% H at temperatures 293 K – 473 K in a continuous membrane reactor. Based on the solubilities and diffusivities of the hydrogen isotopes, protium will move through the membrane faster than deuterium. This difference in hydrogen isotope permeability results in enrichment of deuterium on the retentate side of the membrane and protium on the permeate side of the membrane.
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