All-Nanoporous Hybrid Membranes: Redefining Upper Limits on Molecular Separation Properties


New membrane-based molecular separation processes are an essential part of the strategy for sustainable chemical production. A large literature on "hybrid" or "mixed-matrix" membranes exists, in which nanoparticles of a higher-performance porous material are dispersed in a polymeric matrix to boost performance. We demonstrate that the hybrid membrane concept can be redefined to achieve much higher performance if the membrane matrix and the dispersed phase are both nanoporous crystalline materials, with no polymeric phase. As the first example of such a system, we find that surface-treated nanoparticles of the zeolite MFI can be incorporated in situ during growth of a polycrystalline membrane of the MOF ZIF-8. The resulting all-nanoporous hybrid membrane shows propylene/propane separation characteristics that exceed known upper-bound performance limits defined for polymers, nanoporous materials, and polymer-based hybrid membranes. This serves as a starting point for a new generation of chemical separation membranes containing interconnected nanoporous crystalline phases.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Membranes; Mixed-Matrix; Olefin; Separation

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1433-7851; 1521-3773

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 Wiley-VCH Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2019

PubMed ID