Carbon membranes from blends of PBI and polyimides for N2/CH4 and CO2/CH4 separation and hydrogen purification

Seyed Saeid Hosseini, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Membranes composed of poly(benzimidazole) (PBI) and various polyimides are studied regarding to their capabilities in formation of homogenous blends with satisfactory morphology for fabrication of gas separating carbon molecular sieve membranes. Attempts are made to unravel the correlations between the pyrolysis process parameters and separation performance of developed membranes. The results show that compared to Torlon and P84, Matrimid is a better choice for preparation of blend precursors in combination with PBI. The findings also suggest that carbon membranes derived form PBI/Matrimid are congruous candidates for H2/CO2 separation. Interestingly, attractive performance for separation of other gas pairs were obtained by tuning the PBI content in membranes. Modification of precursors by chemical cross-linking prior to carbonization provides membranes with enhanced selectivity suitable for separation of hydrogen from both nitrogen and carbon dioxide. This research study accentuates the necessity and importance of adopting a proper strategy in exploiting synergistic beneficial features of advanced materials (PBI), technology (polymer blending), process (carbonization) and modification techniques (cross-linking) toward achieving membranes with desired performance. Developed membranes surpass several separation performance trade-offs with great potentials for various industrial applications including CO2/CH4 (α=203.95), H2/CO2 (α = 33.44) and particularly N2/CH4 separation with unprecedented high permeability (PN2 =2.78 Barrer) and selectivity (α = 7.99) for this gas pair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon membranes
  • Chemical modification
  • Gas separation
  • Molecular sieves
  • Polymer blend
  • Pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon membranes from blends of PBI and polyimides for N2/CH4 and CO2/CH4 separation and hydrogen purification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this