Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin.

Special Issue: 二维材料及器件

• Accepted manuscript •    

Recent Progress in Two-dimensional-material Membranes for Gas Separation

CHENG Long, LIU Gongping, JIN Wanqin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering, College of Chemical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 210009, P. R. China
  • Received:2018-10-26 Revised:2018-11-23 Published:2018-11-28
  • Contact: JIN Wanqin
  • Supported by:
    The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21490585, 21476107, 21776125, 51861135203) and the Innovative Research Team Program of the Ministry of Education of China (IRT17R54).

Abstract: Two-dimensional (2D) materials, led by graphene, have emerged as nano-building blocks to develop high-performance membranes. The atom-level thickness of nanosheets makes a membrane as thin as possible, thereby minimizing the transport resistance and maximizing the permeation flux. Meanwhile, the sieving channels can be precisely manipulated within sub-nanometer size for molecular separation, such as gas separation. For instance, graphene oxide (GO) channels with an interlayer height of about 0.4 nm assembled by external forces exhibited excellent H2/CO2 sieving performance compared to commercial membranes. Cross-linking was also employed to fabricate ultrathin (<20 nm) GO-facilitated transport membranes for efficient CO2 capture. A borate-crosslinked membrane exhibited a high CO2 permeance of 650 GPU (gas permeation unit), and a CO2/CH4 selectivity of 75, which is currently the best performance reported for GO-based composite membranes. The CO2-facilitated transport membrane with piperazine as the carrier also exhibited excellent separation performance under simulated flue gas conditions with CO2 permeance of 1020 GPU and CO2/N2 selectivity as high as 680. In addition, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with layered structures, if successfully exfoliated, can serve as diverse sources for MOF nanosheets that can be fabricated into high-performance membranes. It is challenging to maintain the structural and morphological integrity of nanosheets. Poly[Zn2(benzimidazole)4] (Zn2(bim)4) was firstly exfoliated into 1-nm-thick nanosheets and assembled into ultrathin membranes possessing both high permeance and excellent molecular sieving properties for H2/CO2 separation. Interestingly, reversed thermo-switchable molecular sieving was also demonstrated in membranes composed of 2D MOF nanosheets. Besides, researchers employed layered double hydroxides (LDHs) to prepare molecular-sieving membranes via in situ growth, and the as-prepared membranes showed a remarkable selectivity of~80 for H2-CH4 mixture. They concluded that the amount of CO2 in the precursor solution contributed to LDH membranes with various preferred orientations and thicknesses. Apart from these 2D materials, MXenes also show great potential in selective gas permeation. Lamellar stacked MXene membranes with aligned and regular sub-nanometer channels exhibited excellent gas separation performance. Moreover, our ultrathin (20 nm) MXene nanofilms showed outstanding molecular sieving property for the preferential transport of H2, with H2 permeance as high as 1584 GPU and H2/CO2 selectivity of 27. The originally H2-selective MXene membranes could be transformed into membranes selectively permeating CO2 by chemical tuning of the MXene nanochannels. This paper briefly reviews the latest groundbreaking studies in 2D-material membranes for gas separation, with a focus on sub-nanometer 2D channels, exfoliation of 2D nanosheets with structural integrity, and tunable gas transport property. Challenges, in terms of the mass production of 2D nanosheets, scale-up of lab-level membranes and a thorough understanding of the transport mechanism, and the potential of 2D-material membranes for wide implementation are briefly discussed.

Key words: Two-dimensional material, Gas separation membrane, Sub-nanometer channel, Ultrathin membrane, Tunable gas transport


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