• silica membrane;
  • hydrogen;
  • activation energy of permeation;
  • water;
  • kinetic diameter


Silica and cobalt-doped silica membranes that showed a high permeance of 1.8 × 10−7 mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1 and a H2/N2 permeance ratio of ∼730, with excellent hydrothermal stability under steam pressure of 300 kPa, were successfully prepared. The permeation mechanism of gas molecules, focusing particularly on hydrogen and water vapor, was investigated in the 300–500°C range and is discussed based on the activation energy of permeation and the selectivity of gaseous molecules. The activation energy of H2 permeation correlated well with the permeance ratio of He/H2 for porous silica membranes prepared by sol–gel processing, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and vitreous glasses, indicating that similar amorphous silica network structures were formed. The permeance ratios of H2/H2O were found to range from 5 to 40, that is, hydrogen (kinetic diameter: 0.289 nm) was always more permeable than water (0.265 nm). © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011