Microporous Inorganic Membranes for Gas Separation and Purification

  • Domenico De MeisEmail author
  • M. Richetta
  • E. Serra
Research and Development Porous Ceramics


The importance of inorganic membranes for gas separation and purification is analyzed. Although the cost of inorganic membranes is higher than that for polymeric membranes, they have higher permeance, selectivity and better resistance to higher pressure and temperature. The main materials used for porous inorganic membranes are alumina (Al2O3), silica (SiO2), zirconia (ZrO2), zeolite and carbon. Ceramics are compounds of metallic and non-metallic elements. They generally have a macroporous support, an intermediate layer and a small porous top layer. Because the Knudsen gas separation regime has a very low selectivity, various membrane surface modification techniques have started to be experimented with at a number of laboratories. The research focuses on materials that exhibit molecular sieving properties, such as silica, zeolites, MOFs (metal-organic frameworks), graphene and carbon. Finally, gas transport mechanisms through porous membranes are summarized.


gas separation inorganic porous membranes ceramic membranes gas permeance mechanism 

List of symbols and abbreviations


metal organic framework


scanning electron microscope


chemical vapor deposition


chemical vapor infiltration


separation factor of a component A over component B


viscous permeance (mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1)




viscosity [Pa s]


shape factor


pore radius [m]


mean pressure [Pa]


thickness of the membrane (m)


Knudsen permeance [mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1]


molecular velocity [m s−1]


molecular weight of the diffusing gas (kg mol−1)


the gas constant (8.31445 J mol−1 K−1)


temperature [K]


permeation molar flux [mol s−1]


permeability coefficient, [mol m−1 s−1 Pa−1]


permeation area [m2]


upstream gas partial pressure [Pa]


downstream gas partial pressure [Pa]


gas transmission rate


mean free path


Knudsen number


the Boltzmann constant


pressure [Pa]


gas molecule diameter [m]



The authors thank all their colleagues for their help and support. In particular, D. De Meis expresses his sincere gratitude to Prof. Ted Oyama for his suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fusion and Nuclear Safety Department, C. R. FrascatiENEAFrascati (Roma)Italy
  2. 2.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomaItaly
  3. 3.Department for Sustainability, C. R. CasacciaENEASanta Maria di Galeria (Roma)Italy

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