Ultrathin carbon molecular sieve membrane for propylene/propane separation

Xiaoli Ma, Jerry Lin, Xiaotong Wei, Jay Kniep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Ultrathin (down to 300 nm), high quality carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membranes were synthesized on mesoporous γ-alumina support by pyrolysis of defect free polymer films. The effect of membrane thickness on the micropore structure and gas transport properties of CMS membranes was studied with the feed of He/N2 and C3H6/C3H8 mixtures. Gas permeance increases with constant selectivity as the membrane thickness decreases to 520 nm. The 520-nm CMS membrane exhibits C3H6/C3H8 mixture selectivity of ∼31 and C3H6 permeance of ∼1.0 × 10-8 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1. Both C3H8 permeance and He/N2 selectivity increase, but the permeance of He, N2, and C3H6 and the selectivity of C3H6/C3H8 decrease with further decrease in membrane thickness from 520 to 300 nm. These results can be explained by the thickness-dependent chain mobility of the polymer film which yields thinner final CMS membranes with reduction in pore size and possible closure of C3H6-accessible micropores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-499
Number of pages9
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Carbon molecular sieve membrane
  • Glass transition temperature
  • Propylene/propane separation
  • Ultrathin
  • γ-alumina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrathin carbon molecular sieve membrane for propylene/propane separation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this