(713d) Fabrication of AEL Zeolite Nanosheet Membrane on Alumina Hollow Fibers for Molecular-Sieving Applications

Korde, A., Georgia Institute of Techonology
Min, B., Georgia Institute of Technology
Yang, S., Georgia Institute of Technology
Grosz, A., Georgia Institute of Technology
Nair, S., Georgia Institute of Technology
Jones, C., Georgia Institute of Technology
Two-dimensional zeolites are promising materials for the fabrication of ultra-thin zeolite membranes that show high flux and separation efficiency, as demonstrated for MFI zeolite membranes. Several other zeolite frameworks have been crystallized as a multi-lamellar stack of two-dimensional nanosheets but their fabrication into membranes for separation applications still remains unexplored. In this work, two-dimensional AEL nanosheets are used to fabricate thin AEL zeolite membranes on the shell side of alumina hollow fibers to demonstrate a proof of concept for scalable non-MFI zeolite membranes that can display molecular-sieving abilities. The multi-lamellar AEL nanosheets are exfoliated through polymer melt compounding with poly(styrene). Exfoliated AEL zeolite nanosheets are then vacuum coated on the shell side of alumina hollow fibers followed by a secondary growth step to form a continuous membrane layer that is ~2 µm thick. These membranes are then activated through exposure to a high intensity UV lamp to remove the organic structure-directing agents, and their molecular-sieving ability is demonstrated through single-component vapor permeation of several organic molecules that cover a wide range of kinetic diameters. This work is the first demonstration of fabricating thin, non-MFI zeolite membranes using exfoliated zeolite nanosheets that can exhibit molecular- sieving.