Pervaporative Separation of Methanol/Methyl tert-butyl ether Mixtures with Polyion Complex Composite Membranes of Sodium alginate/Chitosan

Pervaporative Separation of Methanol/Methyl tert-butyl ether Mixtures with Polyion Complex Composite Membranes of Sodium alginate/Chitosan

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1. Introduction
Separation or organic/organic mixtures using pervaporation process has become a prime alternative and is extensively studied particularly in the chemical and petrochemical industries due to the process versatility. One of the classic example of its application is the separation of methanol (MeOH) from methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in the production of octane enhancers for fuel blend, which has already been commercialized using cellulose acetate by Air Products [1, 2]. Since then, efforts have been devoted to producing the optimal membrane material for pervaporation separation of alcohol/ether mixtures [1, 2, 3]. In the similar attempt conducted by Kim et al., [2], pervaporative separation of this azeotropic mixtures showed an excellent selectivity and enhanced permeability with the incorporation of sodium alginate (SA) and chitosan (CS) to form polyion complex (PIC) membranes.
SA is an anion electrolyte polysaccharide extracted from seaweeds [2]. SA is one of the commonly used green polymers as membrane materials. It is commonly used as a thickener, immobilization agent, gelling agent and films and coatings production [4]. It is reported that the alginates contribute approximately 4.4 billion dollar in the global market of hydrocolloids and polysaccharides [5]. On the other hand, CS is a typical polar material with unique properties such as biocompatible, biodegradable and non-toxic, and has successfully been used as membrane material [6].
This studies aimed at investigating factors affecting the pervaporation performance of prepared PIC membranes at different SA loading, MTBE concentration in feed and feed temperature. SA and CS were blended at different SA concentrations and PIC composite membranes were prep...

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