Effects of Si-O-Si agglomerations on CO2 transport and separation properties of sol-derived nanohybrid membranes

Cher Hon Lau, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Nanohybrid membranes comprising organic and inorganic components with high CO2 affinity are ideal substitutes for traditional high footprint gas separation technologies. The CO2 permeability of these membranes resembles those of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), the most permeable rubbery material, while possessing CO2/H2 separation factors that supersede PDMS. Such membranes are synthesized using a simple acid-catalyzed sol-gel process. In this work, we investigate the relationship between the CO2 permeation properties of these nanohybrid membranes and membrane and siloxane network morphology by attuning the reaction kinetics of the sol-gel process. The CO2 permeability of these nanohybrid membranes can reach 1810 barrer, an improvement of 7.5 folds; while H2 permeability increase by 5.7 fold, from 30 to 170 barrer. The mechanism behind gas transport enhancements observed in these nanohybrid membranes is elucidated using positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy and sorption measurements. Relative fractional free volume (FFV) content and CO2 sorption behaviors in these membranes are augmented as a function of inorganic phase morphology. The CO2 sorption behavior of the inorganic phase is regulated by the organic/inorganic ratio and water/silicon ratio in the sol-gel synthesis process. Harnessing the advantages of a unique combination of organic and inorganic materials, these nanohybrid membranes outperform most other CO 2-philic polymeric membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6057-6066
Number of pages10
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 9 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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