Nanostructured Poly(styrene-b-butadiene-b-styrene) (SBS) Membranes for the Separation of Nitrogen from Natural Gas

Authors

  • Maria Giovanna Buonomenna,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of Calabria, and Consorzio INSTM, Via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy
    • Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of Calabria, and Consorzio INSTM, Via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy.
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  • Giovanni Golemme,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of Calabria, and Consorzio INSTM, Via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy
    • Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, University of Calabria, and Consorzio INSTM, Via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy.
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  • Caterina Maria Tone,

    1. IPCF-CNR UOS Cosenza, c/o Physics Department, University of Calabria, via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy
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  • Maria Penelope De Santo,

    1. IPCF-CNR UOS Cosenza, c/o Physics Department, University of Calabria, via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy
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  • Federica Ciuchi,

    1. IPCF-CNR UOS Cosenza, c/o Physics Department, University of Calabria, via P. Bucci, 87036 Rende, Italy
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  • Enrico Perrotta

    1. Department of Ecology, University of Calabria, Via P. Bucci 4A, 87036 Rende, Italy
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Abstract

The preparation and characterization of new, tailor-made polymeric membranes using poly(styrene-b-butadiene-b-styrene) (SBS) triblock copolymers for gas separation are reported. Structural differences in the copolymer membranes, obtained by manipulation of the self-assembly of the block copolymers in solution, are characterized using atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and the transport properties of three gases (CO2, N2, and CH4). The CH4/N2 ideal selectivity of 7.2, the highest value ever reported for block copolymers, with CH4 permeability of 41 Barrer, is obtained with a membrane containing the higher amount of polybutadiene (79 wt%) and characterized by a hexagonal array of columnar polystyrene cylinders normal to the membrane surface. Membranes with such a high separation factor are able to ease the exploitation of natural gas with high N2 content. The CO2/N2 ideal selectivity of 50, coupled with a CO2 permeability of 289 Barrer, makes SBS a good candidate for the preparation of membranes for the post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide.

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