Interfacially Polymerized Membranes for Molecular Separations

ID# 2018-4769

Technology Summary

The present invention pertains to a TFC membrane comprising a small-molecule channel element within a polymeric matrix element on a porous support to provide tunable microporosity at the Angstrom scale. The channel element is highly uniform and tunable, enabling a solution flow mechanism that enhances solvent permeability while retaining molecular selectivity. The TFC membrane exhibits over twice the permeance of leading membrane technologies with comparable selectivity. Select examples of separations demonstrated to date include water small molecule separations, alcohol water separations, C4 hydrocarbon separations (1-butene, iso-butene, iso-butane, and n-butane). Other separations that could be enabled include NaCl from water, hydrogen sulfide from methane, carbon dioxide from methane, oxygen from air, nitrogen from air, and benzene from ethanol.

Application & Market Utility

This invention comprises novel TFC membranes containing a small molecule pore element separated from a polymeric matrix element, enabling enhanced performance for gaseous, aqueous, organic solvent, and small molecule separation relative to leading membrane technologies. Preliminary membrane test results show selectivity performance around ~70 to ~300, indicating impactful savings in industrial processes (compared to conventional distillation processes).

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