Editor: "M.G. Buonomenna"

Advanced Materials for Membrane Preparation

Personal Book: US $129 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $219
Printed Copy: US $155
Library Book: US $516
ISBN: 978-1-60805-505-0
eISBN: 978-1-60805-308-7 (Online)
DOI: 10.2174/97816080530871120101

Introduction

The need to reduce pollution and the waste of energy and resources imposes a wider diffusion of environmentally friendly membrane systems. The expanding domain of membrane operations demands tailored materials with unprecedented performances and resistance to temperature, chemicals and solvents, at affordable costs. Today, new polymeric, inorganic and hybrid materials are specifically engineered for the preparation of advanced membranes for industrial applications.

This e-book gives readers an overview of the state-of-the-art materials science of synthetic membranes. Membranes for natural gas treatment, separation of organics, fuel cells, high and low temperature catalytic membrane reactors are some of the subjects covered by this volume.

This e-book will be of interest to specialists in membrane science and technology, as well as for graduate students and researchers in chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science, both in the industry and in the academy.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Science Edition, Scopus, EBSCO.

Preface

The problems related to the greenhouse effect and the scarcity of fossil hydrocarbons – the reservoirs of which will reduce dramatically during this century – impose a conscious use of energy in each of the three major sectors of energy consumptions (industry, transport and domestic uses) which roughly adsorb one third of the global demand. In 30 years from now the increase of the world population and of the average standards of life will cause a non-sustainable explosion of the energy demand, if current energy-intensive technologies will not be phased out.

The availability of cheap and performing electrolyte membranes, the heart of fuel cells, would drastically increase the efficiency in the use of fossil fuels and facilitate a wider diffusion of renewable energies through the so-called hydrogen economy. As of today, the 15% of the energy produced worldwide is employed for separation processes, and most of them are inefficient. Membrane operations are needed to reduce not only production costs but also equipment size, energy utilization and waste generation, in other words they are powerful tools for process intensification. Seawater desalination is a successful example: since membrane operations in integrated systems are 10 times more energetically efficient than thermal options, they represent the cheapest and less polluting solution for the supply of freshwater in desert and remote areas.

The early polymers used for the preparation of reverse osmosis and gas separation membranes (i.e. cellulose acetate and polysulfone) can treat moist streams or aqueous solutions, but cannot tolerate organic solvents, high temperatures and aggressive chemicals, and are unfit to operate in the harsh environments typical of the oil refining and the chemical industry. For this reason new tough materials are sought in order to expand as much as possible the province of membrane operations. The preparation of tailored synthetic membranes and their utilization on a large industrial scale are a recent development which has gained a substantial importance due to the large number of practical applications.

Today, membranes separate liquids, gases and vapours, recover valuable compounds, separate, purify and concentrate juices, milk, serum, broths in the agro-food and drug industries, and they are key components in energy conversion systems.

The modern membranes used in the various applications differ widely in their structure and function and the way they are operated in the different membrane processes. Therefore, several excellent books focus on certain aspects of membrane science such as the theoretical treatment of transport, engineering aspects of membrane process design, membrane preparation and large scale production. This book provides to scientists and students a short but reasonably comprehensive overview of the most recent research strategies for the design of membranes based on advanced materials for specific applications.

Chapters written by experts will make the reader acquainted with a variety of topics ranging from new membrane materials (inorganic oxides for gas separation, zeolites, metal organic frameworks, perovskites for oxygen production, carbon nanotubes, mixed matrix membranes, ionomers for fuel cells, perfluoropolymers, block copolymers) to processes (membrane reactors, aqueous and solvent resistant nanofiltration, pervaporation) to simulation tools of transport of molecules in carbon nanotubes and membranes for fuel cells.

The goal of the authors is to offer an up-to-date understanding of the materials science of membranes in various applications and of its present and future technical relevance.

Maria Giovanna Buonomenna
Giovanni Golemme
University of Calabria
Rende (CS) Italy

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