Separation of VOCs from N2 using poly(ether block amide) membranes

Li Liu, Amit Chakma, Xianshe Feng, Darren Lawless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This work deals with the separation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from nitrogen streams for organic vapour emission control by poly(ether block amide) membranes. As representative air pollutant VOCs, n-pentane, n-hexane, cyclohexane, n-heptane, methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, n-butanol, acetone, dimethyl carbonate, and methyl tert-butyl ether were used in this study. The separation of both binary VOC/N2 and multicomponent VOCs/N 2 gas mixtures was carried out, and the membranes exhibited good separation performance. A VOC concentration of more than 90 mol% was achieved at a feed VOC concentration of 5 mol%. It was found that the permeances of the VOCs were mainly dominated by their solubilities in the membrane, whereas the permeance of N2 was affected by the presence of the VOCs. The permeance of N2 in the VOC/N2 mixtures was shown to be higher than pure N2 permeance due to membrane swelling induced by the VOCs dissolved in the membrane. Nevertheless, the VOC/N2 selectivity increased with an increase in the feed VOC concentration. Among the VOCs studied, the membrane showed a higher permeance to alcohol VOCs than paraffin VOCs. The effects of feed VOC concentration, temperature, stage cut, and permeate pressure on the separation performance were investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-465
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


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