Effect of Surface Resistances on the Diffusion of Binary Mixtures in the Silicalite Single Crystal Membrane

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Journal of Physical Chemistry B


Diffusion of methane and argon mixtures through the silicalite single-crystal membrane is studied using the dual-control volume-grand canonical molecular dynamics method to understand how surface resistances alter selectivity and permeance. Comparison of results from intracrystalline transport and entrance simulations for binary mixtures of CH 4 and Ar shows that the selectivity of silicalite membranes toward Ar is enhanced in the presence of the surface resistances. In both cases, however, diffusion of faster Ar molecules was inhibited by slower diffusing CH 4 molecules, whereas diffusion of the latter remained unaffected. This behavior was explained by the difference between the magnitudes of surface resistances for two molecules, which is much smaller for Ar because of its smaller permeant-crystal interaction size. We find that selectivity of the membrane at the surface depends strongly on total feed pressure and temperature, whereas this dependence is weak for intracrystalline diffusion. Furthermore, we show that the selectivity at the surface diminishes with crystal thickness until a certain thickness is reached, whereas the intracrystalline selectivity remains constant with increasing thickness. Finally, a study of diffusion of C 2H 6 and CF 4 mixtures shows that the diatomic ethane molecules diffuse faster inside the zeolite channels, but their desorption is hindered to a larger extent than that of a spherical molecule with larger diameter and lower heat of adsorption. This observation indicates that the difference in molecular geometry is also a significant factor to explain the exit effect.