Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1996

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Kamalesh K. Sirkar

Second Advisor

Barbara B. Kebbekus

Third Advisor

Robert G. Luo


In this study, new separation techniques called Flow Swing Membrane Absorption Permeation (FSMABP) and Flow Swing Membrane Permeation (FSMP) were used for the removal of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In both cases, processes are cyclic in terms of feed flow while desorption of the VOCs is constantly taking place. The transport mechanism in the FSMABP process is selective permeation followed by absorption of the VOCs into the stagnant nonvolatile absorbent liquid on the shell side of the membrane module and then desorption through a similar polymeric membrane. In the FSMP process, VOCs selectively permeate through the membrane into the shell side due to the partial pressure difference across the membrane. Hollow Fiber Modules (HFM) which were used for this experimental work were effective in removing various VOCs from gas streams. High percent removal of VOCs in case of FSMABP and FSMP was achieved at lower feed flow rates and shorter cycle times. Organic contamination in the feed gas stream could be almost totally removed to obtain highly purified treated gas. The advantage of the FSMABP process is that the enrichment of the permeate is much higher compared to the FSMP. Low nitrogen solubility in mineral oil ensures that the permeate is much more concentrated in VOCs, thus facilitating not only removal of organics but also recovery of these commercially valuable solvents. For the same process inlet conditions, lower concentrations of the treated stream were achieved in FSMP. Silicone coated membrane used in this experimental work showed reasonable high selectivity for VOCs over nitrogen.



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