Pervaporation study on the dehydration of aqueous butanol solutions: A comparison of flux vs. permeance, separation factor vs. selectivity

Wei Fen Guo, Tai Shung Chung, Takeshi Matsuura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Dehydration of four butanol isomers from their aqueous solutions by pervaporation was studied using a commercial hydrophilic membrane with feed water concentration less 20 wt% at 60°C to 100°C. The effects of feed water content on membrane separation performance were studied in terms of: (1) fluxes and permeances of individual components, and (2) separation factor and selectivity of water to butanol. Efforts were devoted to compare and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using flux or permeance, and separation factor or selectivity as analysis parameters. Using permeance and selectivity instead of flux and separation factor can significantly decouple the effect of operating conditions on performance evaluation, while clarify and quantify the contribution by the nature of the membrane to separation performance. The effects of temperature on polymeric membranes appear to be significantly different when one plots permeance instead of flux versus feed water content at different temperatures, implying that the traditional flux plots might somewhat mislead the analysis. In addition, analyses indicate that aqueous activity coefficient and saturated vapor pressure appear to play important roles when one evaluates the membrane performance in terms of permeance and selectivity. The effects of temperature and feed water concentration on permeance and selectivity can be elucidated nicely with the aid of the known relationship among activity coefficient, saturated vapor pressure, temperature, and feed water concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Butanol isomers
  • Dehydration
  • Flux vs. permeance
  • Pervaporation
  • Separation factor vs. selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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