The Performance of a Thermally Cross-Linked Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIM-1) for Gas Separation

  • Fahd Alghunaimi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Gas transport properties of PIM-1 (the first ladder polymer with intrinsic microporosity) and TC-PIM-1 (thermally cross-linked PIM-1) at 35°C and different pressures were thoroughly studied. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the performance of the TC-PIM-1 membranes with PIM-1 for natural gas separation. The TC-PIM-1 polymer was prepared by post-modification of PIM-1 at 300°C for a period of two days. Sorption isotherms of seven gases, including N2, O2, CH4, CO2, C2H6, C3H8 and n-C4H10, were determined for PIM-1 and TC-PIM-1 using the dual-volume barometric sorption technique at 35°C at different pressures. The sorption isotherms followed the dual-mode sorption model, which is typical for glassy polymers. Moreover, permeability (P) of eight gases, including He, H2, N2, O2, CH4, CO2, C3H8 and n-C4H10, were determined for PIM-1 and TC-PIM-1 at 35°C and 2.0 atm. Furthermore, average diffusion coefficients (D ̅) were calculated from the permeability and solubility data for all tested gases for both polymers. The sorption (S), permeability (P) and average diffusion coefficients (D ̅) for the TC-PIM-1 membrane exhibited lower values than the PIM-1 membrane. However, the TC-PIM-1 membrane showed exceptional gas separation performance. The TC-PIM-1 membrane had a helium (He) permeability of 1218 barrer with He/CH4 and He/N2 ideal selectivities of 27.1 and 23.9 respectively, and carbon dioxide (CO2) permeability of 1088 barrer with CO2/CH4 and CO2/N2 ideal selectivities of 24.2 and 21.3 respectively. Additionally, the TC-PIM-1 membrane showed a hydrogen (H2) permeability of 2452 barrer with an ideal H2/CH4 selectivity of 54.5.
Date of AwardMay 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorIngo Pinnau (Supervisor)


  • Natural Gas
  • PIM-1
  • Gas Sorption
  • Diffusion
  • Cross-Linked
  • Microporosity

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