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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 8, 2016

Gas Separation in Nanoporous Graphene from Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Sayyed Mohammad R. Gharibzahedi and Javad Karimi-Sabet

Abstract

Membrane separation processes are energetically efficient compared to the other techniques such as cryogenic distillation and gas adsorption techniques. It is well known that a membrane's permeance is inversely proportional to its thickness. Regard to its single atom thickness and its mechanical strength, nanoporous graphene has been proposed as a very promising candidate for highly efficient gas separation applications. In this work, using classical molecular dynamics, we report the separation performance of such membrane in a molecular-sieving process as a function of pore size and chemical functionalization of pore rim. To investigate the membrane separation capability, we have calculated the permeance of each gas molecule of the considered binary mixtures through the membranes and therefore the separation selectivity. We investigated the separation performance of nanoporous graphene for CO2/N2, H2/CH4 and He/CH4 with 50:50 proportions of each component and the separation selectivity has been calculated. We also calculated the potential of the mean force to characterize the energy profile for gas transmission. The separation selectivity reduced by increasing the pore size. However, presence of chemical functionally pores in the membrane increased the separation selectivity. Furthermore, the gas permeance through nanoporous graphene membranes is related not only to transport rate to the graphene surface as well as kinetic diameters but also to molecular adsorbed layer which is formed on the surface. The flux of molecules through the nanopores is also dependent on pore chemistry which is considered as gas-pore interactions in the molecular simulations and can be a sizable factor in simulation in contrast to experimental observations. This study suggests that nanoporous graphene could represent a suitable membrane for gas separation.

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Received: 2015-12-8
Accepted: 2015-12-10
Published Online: 2016-1-8
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

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