Novel molecular sieve silica (MSS) membranes: characterisation and permeation of single-step and two-step sol-gel membranes

J. C. Diniz Da Costa, G. Q. Lu, V. Rudolph, Y. S. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


High quality MSS membranes were synthesised by a single-step and two-step catalysed hydrolyses employing tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS), absolute ethanol (EtOH), 1M nitric acid (HNO3) and distilled water (H2O). The 29Si NMR results showed that the two-step xerogels consistently had more contribution of silanol groups (Q3 and Q2) than the single-step xerogel. According to the fractal theory, high contribution of Q2 and Q3 species are responsible for the formation of weakly branched systems leading to low pore volume of microporous dimension. The transport of diffusing gases in these membranes is shown to be activated as the permeance increased with temperature. Albeit the permeance of He for both single-step and two-step membranes are very similar, the two-step membranes permselectivity (ideal separation factor) for He/CO2 (69-319) and He/CH4 (585-958) are one to two orders of magnitude higher than the single-step membranes results of 2-7 and 69, respectively. The two-step membranes have high activation energy for He and H2 permeance, in excess of 16kJmol-1. The mobility energy for He permeance is three to six-fold higher for the two-step than the single-step membranes. As the mobility energy is higher for small pores than large pores and coupled with the permselectivity results, the two-step catalysed hydrolysis sol-gel process resulted in the formation of pore sizes in the region of 3Å while the single-step process tended to produce slightly larger pores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 31 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Activation energy
  • Mobility energy
  • Silanol groups
  • Silica
  • Sol-gel
  • Weakly branched systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel molecular sieve silica (MSS) membranes: characterisation and permeation of single-step and two-step sol-gel membranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this