Plasma-deposited hybrid silica membranes with a controlled retention of organic bridges

P.H. Tchoua Ngamou, J.P. Overbeek, R. Kreiter, H.M. Veen, van, J.F. Vente, I.M. Wienk, P.F. Cuperus, M. Creatore

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Hybrid organically bridged silica membranes are suitable for energy-efficient molecular separations under harsh industrial conditions. Such membranes can be useful in organic solvent nanofiltration if they can be deposited on flexible, porous and large area supports. Here, we report the proof of concept for applying an expanding thermal plasma to the synthesis of perm-selective hybrid silica films from an organically bridged monomer, 1,2-bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane. This membrane is the first in its class to be produced by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition. By tuning the plasma and process parameters, the organic bridging groups could be retained in the separating layer. This way, a defect free film could be made with pervaporation performances of an n-butanol–water mixture comparable with those of conventional ceramic supported membranes made by sol–gel technology (i.e. a water flux of 1.8 kg m2 h1, a water concentration in the permeate higher than 98% and a separation factor of >1100). The obtained results show the suitability of expanding thermal plasma as a technology for the deposition of hybrid silica membranes for molecular separations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5567-5576
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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