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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (3) : 458-474
Mass transport mechanisms within pervaporation membranes
Yimeng Song1,2, Fusheng Pan1,2, Ying Li1,2, Kaidong Quan1,2, Zhongyi Jiang1,2()
1. Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Technology, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300350, China
2. Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin), Tianjin 300072, China
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Pervaporation is an energy-efficient membrane technology for separating liquid molecules of similar physical properties, which may compete or combine with distillation separation technology in a number of applications. With the rapid development of new membrane materials, the pervaporation performance was significantly improved. Fundamental understanding of the mass transport mechanisms is crucial for the rational design of membrane materials and efficient intensification of pervaporation process. Based on the interactions between permeate molecules and membranes, this review focuses on two categories of mass transport mechanisms within pervaporation membranes: physical mechanism (solution-diffusion mechanism, molecular sieving mechanism) and chemical mechanism (facilitated transport mechanism). Furthermore, the optimal integration and evolution of different mass transport mechanisms are briefly introduced. Material selection and relevant applications are highlighted under the guidance of mass transport mechanisms. Finally, the current challenges and future perspectives are tentatively identified.

Keywords pervaporation membrane      mass transport mechanisms      physical mechanism      chemical mechanism     
Corresponding Authors: Zhongyi Jiang   
Online First Date: 21 March 2019    Issue Date: 22 August 2019
 Cite this article:   
Yimeng Song,Fusheng Pan,Ying Li, et al. Mass transport mechanisms within pervaporation membranes[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(3): 458-474.
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Yimeng Song
Fusheng Pan
Ying Li
Kaidong Quan
Zhongyi Jiang
Fig.1  (a) Schematic of pervaporation process and overview of mass transport mechanisms within pervaporation membranes, (b) solution-diffusion mechanism, (c) molecular sieving mechanism, and (d) facilitated transport mechanism
Fig.2  Materials design and typical membrane materials that derive from different mass transport mechanisms
Steps Models Number of permeating components Classification of model Membrane type Ref.
Solution Langmuir and Henry’s law isotherms Single Empirical Polymeric [45]
Solubility parameter theory Binary Semi-empirical Polymeric [46]
ENSIC model Binary Semi-empirical Polymeric [47]
PC-SAFT model Binary Theoretical Polymeric [48]
Flory-Huggins theory Binary/multi Semi-empirical Polymeric [49,50]
UNIFAC model Multi Theoretical Polymeric [51]
UNIQUAC model Multi Semi-empirical Polymeric [52]
NRTL model Binary Semi-empirical Polymeric/inorganic [53,54]
Ideal adsorbed
solution theory
Multi Theoretical Inorganic [55]
Diffusion Empirical diffusion coefficients Multi Empirical Polymeric [56]
Free volume theory Binary Theoretical Polymeric [57]
Dual sorption Binary Theoretical Polymeric [58]
Dusty gas model Multi Theoretical Inorganic [59]
Resistance-based model Binary Theoretical Mixed matrix [60]
mass transport
Meyer-Blumenroth model Binary Semi-empirical Polymeric [56]
Qi-model Binary Semi-empirical Polymeric [56]
Pseudophase-change solution-diffusion model Binary Theoretical Polymeric [61]
Maxwell-Stefan theory Multi Theoretical Polymeric/inorganic [6264]
Maxwell model Binary Theoretical Mixed matrix [65]
Tab.1  Models based on solution-diffusion mechanism
Fig.3  (a) Top view SEM images for the MFI membrane. Reproduced with permission from ref. [73]. (b) Schematic of removing water from organics through a UiO-66 membrane. A unit cell of UiO-66 (right) is shown. H atoms are omitted for clarity. (c) Top view SEM images of UiO-66 membranes. (b) and (c) are reproduced with permission from ref. [77]. (d) Structural diagram of GO and three diamine-crosslinked membranes. Reproduced with permission from ref. [89]
Fig.4  (a) Dewar-Chatt model of p-bond complexation. Reproduced with permission from ref. [97]. (b) The synthetic route of the Ag+/TiO2 microsphere. Reproduced with permission from ref. [112]. (c) Chemical structure of different cyclodextrins
Fig.5  (a) Schematic of water and ethanol molecules transport through SA-SNW-1/PAN and interfacial interaction between SNW-1 and SA. Reproduced with permission from ref. [130]. (b) Structural model of CNs with triangular nanopores in red circle and structure magnification of the triangular nanopores. Reproduced with permission from ref. [131]
Fig.6  (a) Schematic representation of the water flow through the AQP1 subunit. Reproduced with permission from ref. [139]. (b) Schematic representation of the mechanism for separating i-propanol and H2O using a GO membrane. Reproduced with permission from ref. [147]
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