Conformation-Controlled Molecular Sieving Effects for Membrane-Based Propylene/Propane Separation

Yang Liu, Zhijie Chen, Gongping Liu, Youssef Belmabkhout, Karim Adil, Mohamed Eddaoudi, William Koros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Membrane-based separation is poised to reduce the operation cost of propylene/propane separation; however, identifying a suitable molecular sieve for membrane development is still an ongoing challenge. Here, the successful identification and use of a metal-organic framework (MOF) material as fillers, namely, the Zr-fum-fcu-MOF possessing an optimal contracted triangular pore-aperture driving the efficient diffusive separation of propylene from propane in mixed-matrix membranes are reported. It is demonstrated that the fabricated hybrid membranes display a high propylene/propane separation performance, far beyond the current trade-off limit of polymer membranes with excellent properties under industrial conditions. Most importantly, the mechanism behind the exceptional high propylene/propane selectivity is delineated by exploring theoretically the efficiency of sieving of different conformers of propane through the hypothesized triangular rigid pore-aperture of Zr-fum-fcu-MOF.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1807513
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number14
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/2222-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by KAUST CRG Research Grant URF/1/2222-01. Y.L. and W.J.K. acknowledge the Specialty Separations Center at Georgia Tech. for assistance in equipment resource funds.


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