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Report on

An Overview on Pervaporation
(An Advanced Separation Technique)
(S.M. Khan et al)

Submitted by:

Zeeshan Ahmed
2nd Semester

Submitted to:

Prof. Shafqat Abbas

Hajvery University (HU), Lahore

Department of Electrical Engineering

Main Campus, 43-54 Industrial Area Gulberg III

1. Preface
2. Introduction
3. PV Process A Green Separation Process
4. What is Membrane
5. Membrane Material
6. Application of Membrane
7. Membrane Separation Techniques
8. History of Membrane Separation
9. Membrane Separation
10. Characteristics of Membrane Separation
11. Transport in Membrane
12. Type of Membrane Processes
13. Pervaporation
14. Advantage and Disadvantage of PV
15. Application of PV
16. Conclusion
17. Glossary
18. References


This report is supplement to the paper titled An Overview on Pervaporation (An

Advanced Separation Technique) by S.M. Khan et al. As the original paper is the
review of the separation technique, Pervaporation, much of the detail about the
separation techniques along with its rival one is elaborated in more detail.
In order to fully understand the nature of the paper some history about old and new
techniques is given in following sections. This report should be read along with original
paper as supplement for better understanding. Original text of the paper is avoided in
order minimize the duplication of the facts given already in the original paper.


Pervaporation (PV) is an advanced separation technique capable for separating

mixtures which were abstrusely separated ever before. It is an energy intensive,
economical, safer and green separation technology. It competes with all the available
conventional separation techniques with leading perspectives. This study, supported
with solid facts and comparisons, explains the importance of pervaporation technique
to achieve multiple separation objectives.
Azeotrope, heat sensitive mixtures, nonvolatile mixture and mixtures with
relative volatility nearly equal to one are difficult to separate. Different unit operation
techniques like adsorption, extractive distillation, distillation of azeotropic mixtures and
liquid-liquid extraction are in exercise in chemical engineering practices for the
separation of such mixtures. But all of these conventional separation techniques
demand extensive amount of energy, external entrainer and downstream processing to
recover key component. These techniques often cause product contamination and
environmental pollution. In order to enhance the efficiency of separation process an
advanced separation technique pervaporation (PV) has been introduced. It is an
economical, energy saving and safe membrane separation technique. It provides
efficient separation at normal operating conditions without using any external chemical
separating agent or any other downstream processing.
Industrial growth is always associated with exponential energy demands and a more
precise control on the environmental pollution. In order to fulfill the increasing energy
requirements and environmental safety, alternative energy sources should be
introduced and ongoing processes should be revamped to make them energy saving
and environment friendly. Pervaporation technique fulfills all these requirements
successfully and is on the way to conserve the energy and protect the environment for
Pervaporation is a membrane separation process conducted by partial vaporization
using a nonporous membrane. The driving forces which cause the transport through
the selective membrane are chemical potential difference, partial pressure difference
and membrane transport rate. Membrane serves as a selective transport barrier during
the separation of solute from the bulk solvent.

PV Process A Green Separation Process:

Green Separation Processes is a universally accepted term being used worldwide only
for those processes which are environment friendly. In the context of increasingly
stringent legislation in environmental protection rules and regularities, there is an
exponential increase in interest for the development of more environment friendly
processes and techniques. Pervaporation process is an integral part of the Green
Separation Processes as It does not need any hazardous or toxic chemicals for

separation, but only a selective membrane, it does not discharge any hazardous effluent
stream, it is not going to become a part of global warming, no air, water or ground
pollution involved in the process, a noise free process.

What is membrane?
1. Any thin pliable or flexible sheet of material
2. The possible definition is its a region of discontinuity interposed between two
phases Based on the above definitions, the membranes can be gas, liquid or solid,
or combination of these phases


The above illustration tells us that a membrane is placed in a vessel so that two
compartments, i.e. upper and lower compartments, are established. As a feed stream of
a fluid mixture containing constituents of A and B flows along the membrane in the
upper compartment, one of the constituents permeates selectively and is enriched in the
permeate stream.

Membrane Material:

Typical membrane materials

Natural polymers: wool, rubber, and cellulose
Synthetic polymers
Inorganic materials: microporous ceramics, metals, and carbons
Almost all industrial membrane materials are made from polymers limited to
temperatures below 200 and chemically inert mixture. Types of polymer membrane
are Dense Amorphous Membrane pores, if any, less than a few Angstroms in diameter
diffusing species must dissolve into the polymer and then diffuse through the polymer
and Microporous Membrane (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, and nanofiltration)
contains interconnected pores of 0.001-10 m in diameter for small molecules,
permeability for microporous membranes is high but selectivity is low

Application of membrane:
Distinct features of membranes are responsible for the interest in using them as
additional unit operation for separation processes in fluid processes. Some advantages
noted include:

Less energy-intensive, since they do not require major phase changes

Do not demand adsorbents or solvents, which may be expensive or difficult to handle

Equipment simplicity and modularity, which facilitates the incorporation of more

efficient membranes

Membranes are used with pressure as the driving processes in membrane filtration of
solutes and in reverse osmosis. In dialysis and pervaporation the chemical potential
along a concentration gradient is the driving force. Also pertraction as a membrane
assisted extraction process relies on the gradient in chemical potential.
However, their overwhelming success in biological systems is not matched by their
application. The main reasons for this are named

Foulingthe decrease of function with use

Prohibitive cost per membrane area

Lack of solvent resistant materials

Scale up risks

Membrane Separation Techniques

History of Membrane Separation
Large-scale applications have only appeared in the past 60 years
1940s: separation of 235UF6 from 238UF6 (porous fluorocarbons)
acetate),commercial ultrafiltration membranes
1979: hollow-fiber membrane for gas separation (polysulfone)
1980s: commercialization of alcohol dehydration by pervaporation
Replacement of more-common separations with membrane
Potential: save large amounts of energy
o production
membranes on a large scale
o fabrication of the membrane into compact, economical modules of
high surface

Membrane Separation:

Separation by means of a semipermeable barrier (membrane) through which one or

more species move faster than another or other species


The two products are usually miscible

The separating agent is a semipermeable barrier
A sharp separation is often difficult to achieve

Characteristics of Membrane separation:

Distillation vs. gas permeation: energy of separation for distillation is usually heat,
but for gas permeation is the shaft work of gas compression
Emerging (new) unit operation: important progress is still being made for efficient
membrane materials and packaging
Membrane separator vs. other separation equipment- more compact, less capital
intensive, and more easily operated, controlled, and maintained- usually modular in
construction: many parallel units required for large-scale applications
Desirable characteristics of membrane
1. good permeability,
2. high selectivity,
3. chemical and mechanical compatibility,
4. stability, freedom from fouling, and useful life,
5. amenability,
6. ability to withstand large pressure differences

Transport in Membranes:

Types of Membrane Processes:

1. Ultrafiltration:
Ultrafiltration (UF) is the process of separating extremely small particles and dissolved
molecules permeability of a filter medium can be affected by the chemical, molecular or
electrostatic from fluids. The primary basis for separation is molecular size, although in
all filtration applications, the properties of the sample. Ultra filtration can only separate
molecules which differ by at least an order of magnitude in size. Molecules of similar
size cannot be separated by ultra-filtration. Materials ranging in size from 1K to 1000K
molecular weight (MW) are retained by certain ultrafiltration membranes, while salts
and water will pass through

2. Microfiltration:
Micro filtration (MF) is the process of removing particles or biological entities in the
0.025 m to 10.0m range from fluids by passage through a micro porous medium such
as a membrane filter. Although micron-sized particles can be removed by use of nonmembrane or depth materials such as those found in fibrous media, only a membrane
filter having a precisely defined pore size can ensure quantitative retention

3. Reverse Osmosis:
Reverse osmosis (RO) separates salts and small molecules from low molecular weight
solutes (typically less than 100 daltons) at relatively high pressures using membranes
with NMWLs of 1 kDa or lower. RO membranes are normally rated by their retention of
sodium chloride while ultrafiltration membranes are characterized according to the
molecular weight of retained solutes. Millipore water purification systems employ both
reverse osmosis membranes as well as ultrafiltration membranes. Reverse osmosis
systems are primarily used to purify tap water to purities that exceed distilled water
quality. Ultrafiltration systems ensure that ultrapure water is free from endotoxins as
well as nucleases for critical biological research.

4. Dead-end Filtration:
The most basic form of filtration is dead-end filtration. The complete feed flow is forced
through the membrane and the filtered matter is accumulated on the surface of the
membrane. The dead-end filtration is a batch process as accumulated matter on the
filter decreases the filtration capacity, due to clogging. A next process step to remove
the accumulated matter is required. Dead-end filtration can be a very useful technique
for concentrating compounds.

5. Cross-flow Filtration:
With cross-flow filtration a constant turbulent flow along the membrane surface
prevents the accumulation of matter on the membrane surface. The membranes used in
this process are commonly tubes with a membrane layer on the inside wall of the tube.

The feed flow through the membrane tube has an elevated pressure as driving force for
the filtration process and a high flow speed to create turbulent conditions. The process
is referred to as "cross-flow", because the feed flow and filtration flow direction have a
90 degrees angle. Cross-flow filtration is an excellent way to filter liquids with a high
concentration of filterable matter.

6. Hybrid-flow Filtration:
The hybrid flow process combines the dead-end and the cross-flow principle. As in the
cross-flow filtration tubular membranes are with the filtration layer on the inside wall
are used. The filtration process has two phases: the production phase and the flushing
phase. During the production phase, the tubes are closed on one side and a dead-end
filtration is performed. During the flushing phase, the tube is open on both sides and
the fraction that did not pass through the membranes is removed in order to clean the
membrane surface as in cross-flow filtration. This filtration technique is especially
suitable for treating water streams containing suspended solids in low concentrations

7. Submerged Filtration:
With submerged membrane filtration the membranes are submerged in the liquid that
has to be filtered. The filtration is performed from the outside to the inside of the
membrane (filtering layer is on the outer side of the tube or plate). Sheer forces along
the membrane surface are created by a flow of air bubbles along the surface. In some
cases the airflow also results in a liquid flow created by the airlift principle. The driving
force is a vacuum applied on the inner side of the membrane.

Pervaporation: (New Technique)

Pervaporation (or pervaporative separation) is a processing method for the separation
of mixtures of liquids by partial vaporization through a non-porous or porous
Pervaporation is a separation process where a liquid mixture is in direct contact with
one side of membrane and where the permeate stream is removed in vapour state from
the other side of the membrane. Because of the presence of the membrane, the liquidvapour equilibrium is perturbed as shown in Figure. Application of pervaporation
Separation of:
azeotropic mixtures
mixture of closed boiling point component
heat-sensitive products

Diagram 1:

Diagram 2:


The above Diagram Shows that when we feed liquid through feed pump into PV
membrane module, the Permeate liquid is that which crosses the membrane
The permeate liquid is condensed in vacuum condenser. That gives us
condensed permeate liquid.
The Retentate liquid is that which does not crosses the membrane. The Retentate
liquid is purified liquid.

Advantage and Disadvantage of PV

Pervaporation has a large list of industrial applications for the separation of liquid
mixtures. Although it is a developing industrial membrane separation process but still
its leading perspectives have compelled the industrialist to fabricate pervaporation
plants which are effectively playing their role in production. Typical separations being
conducted by pervaporation technique are separation of azeotropic mixtures in
chemical process industries, organic-organic separation, separation of dissolved
organics from water, separations in petroleum and petrochemical industries, increasing
distillation column efficiency by hybrid pervaporation unit, increasing reaction yield by
Perstillation and water and waste water treatment etc.

By studying the pervaporation process description, advantages & disadvantages,
descriptive comparison, diagrammatic comparison, areas of application and its
environmental impacts comparison with other competitive separation techniques,
Pervaporation proves itself an economic, efficient and green separation technique. It
possesses leading perspectives as compared to the other conventional separation

1. Permeate:
In a Filtration process the part of a solution that crosses the membrane.
2. Retentate:
In a Filtration process the part of a solution that does not cross membrane (as
opposed to diffusate).
3. Diffusate:
Material which, in the process of catalysis, has diffused or passed through the
separating membrane.
4. Catalyst:
Is the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction of one or more reactants due to
the participation of an additional substance called a catalyst.
5. Azeotrope:
It is mixture of two liquids which has constant boiling point and composition
throughout distillation process.
6. Nonvolatile Mixture:
The compounds which can evaporate easily at room temperature called as
volatile while the compounds which cannot evaporate easily at room
temperature called nonvolatile.
8. Relative volatility:
Relative volatility is a measure comparing the vapor pressures of the
components in a liquid mixture of chemicals. This quantity is widely used in
designing large industrial distillation processes.

o The entrapment of one substance by another substance.
o The movement of one fluid by another.
o (Chemical engineering) an additive that forms an azeotrope with one
component of a liquid mixture to aid in otherwise difficult separations by
distillation, as in azeotropic distillation.
10. Downstream processing:
Downstream processing refers to the recovery and purification of biosynthetic
products, particularly pharmaceuticals, from natural sources such as animal or
plant tissue or fermentation broth, including the recycling of salvageable
components and the proper treatment and disposal of waste.
11. Ongoing process:
The definition of ongoing is something that is still going on at the present time
and that is going to continue.

12. Adsorption:
Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, or molecules from a gas, liquid, or
dissolved solid to a surface.
13. Extractive Distillation:
Is defined as distillation in the presence of a miscible, high boiling, relatively
non-volatile component, the solvent, that forms no azeotrope with the other
components in the mixture
14. Distillation of Azeotropic Mixtures
In chemistry, a mixture of liquids that has a constant boiling point because the
vapor has the same composition as the liquid mixture. The boiling point of an
azeotropic mixture may be higher or lower than that of any of its components.
The components of the solution cannot be separated by simple distillation.
15. Liquid-Liquid Extraction
Liquid-Liquid extraction is a method by which a compound is pulled from
solvent A to solvent B where solvents A and B are not miscible. The most
common method of liquid-liquid extraction is performed using a separatory

1. Introduction from research paper (An Overview on pervaporation)
2. PV Process A Green Separation Process from research paper( An Overview on
3. What is Membrane from (Membrane Science and Membrane Separation
Processes Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology
Imperial Collage London)
4. Membrane Material from (Wikipedia)
5. Application of Membrane from research paper (An Overview on pervaporation)
6. Membrane Separation Techniques from (Wikipedia)
7. History of Membrane Separation from (Wikipedia)
8. Membrane Separation from (Wikipedia)
9. Characteristics of Membrane Separation (Wikipedia)
10. Transport in Membrane from (Wikipedia)
11. Type of Membrane Processes from (Dead End Membrane Filtration Laboratory
Feasibility Studies in Environmental Engineering)
12. Pervaporation from (Membrane Science and Membrane Separation Processes
Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology Imperial
Collage London)
13. Advantage and Disadvantage of PV from research paper (An Overview on
14. Application of PV from research paper (An Overview on pervaporation)
15. Conclusion from (An Overview on pervaporation)
16. Glossary from (Wikipedia)
17. References from (related topics)