Separation of close-boiling hydrocarbon mixtures by MFI and FAU membranes made by secondary growth

Sankar Nair, Zhiping Lai, Vladimiros Nikolakis, George Xomeritakis, Griselda Bonilla, Michael Tsapatsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


We summarize and discuss recent results on the separation of close-boiling hydrocarbon mixtures by means of zeolite membranes. We focus on the separation of xylene isomers using silicalite (MFI) membranes, as well as several other hydrocarbon mixtures using faujasite membranes. In the case of the silicalite membranes, the selectivity is found to depend on the membrane microstructure. Permeation of xylene isomers through the silicalite membranes occurs through both zeolitic and non-zeolitic (intercrystalline) nanopores. This hypothesis is supported by vapor-phase permeation results on silicalite membranes synthesized with different microstructures, and by confocal microscopy experiments. In addition, a simple method for repairing calcination-induced membrane defects is presented, and its application is found to be essential in obtaining high (20-300) p-xylene/o-xylene separation factors. The faujasite membranes are found to have high selectivities (40-150) in the separation of binary mixtures containing one aromatic component, and modest selectivities (4-9) for the separation of unsaturated from saturated low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 2001


  • Faujasite
  • Grain boundaries
  • Membrane
  • Permeation
  • Xylene


Dive into the research topics of 'Separation of close-boiling hydrocarbon mixtures by MFI and FAU membranes made by secondary growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this