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Effects of processing on the properties and permeability of pure gases through sol-gel silica membranes
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N2, O2 and CO2 pure gas permeation through sol-gel derived silica membranes were determined and the effects of processing parameters on the microstructure of the membrane was investigated. Silica sols were prepared in an alcoholic solution by hydrolysis and condensation of TEOS as a function of acid content. The thickness of the silica membranes was determined to be about 2μm and significant infiltration into the support was observed from the SEM pictures. The supported membranes were heat treated in the 50-400°C. The N2 permeabilities of silica membranes varied in the 2.2*10-10-2.7*10-8 mol/m2.s.Pa range for single layer membranes dipped for 10s. in the sol. The CO2 permeability of these membranes varied in the 1.2*10-9-6.95 *10-8 mol/m2.s.Pa range. The sols became viscous and gelled at 50°C in 16 hours. The O2 permeability increased with aging time. The optimum dipping time during processing was determined to be 10 seconds. The increase in the acid content of the sols were observed to increase permeabilities of the membranes significantly.