Date of Award

Fall 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

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


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Kamalesh K. Sirkar

Second Advisor

Henry Shaw

Third Advisor

Demetri P. Petrides


Removal of various VOCs from air/nitrogen feed streams using a novel hollow fiber membrane was studied. Hollow Fiber Module (HFM) used had composite silicone membranes wherein an ultrathin (~ 1μm), nonporous silicone rubber membrane layer had been plasma polymerized on a porous (porosity: 0.4) polypropylene substrate. VOCs studied were toluene, methanol, acetone, methylene chloride and hexane. Primary focus was on single VOCs, although separation of VOC mixtures was also briefly studied. HFM was found to be extremely effective in removing various VOCs from feed streams. Removal of 90-99 % of various VOCs was achieved at low feed flow rates and high inlet VOC concentrations. The membrane exhibited high selectivities for VOC over nitrogen/air. The VOC permeance was found to be dependent on the VOC concentration. Tube-side feed and shell-side feed modes of operation were analyzed for methanol and toluene; it was observed that tube-side feed mode gives better VOC separations. A mathematical model was developed and numerically simulated to explain the observed VOC (toluene and methanol) separation behavior of HFM. The model was able to explain the experimental results reasonably well. Removal of VOC (acetone) from a high pressure gas was also studied. HFM was also successful in separating a mixture of VOCs (toluene, methanol, acetone) from a nitrogen feed stream.