Room-temperature synthesis of ZIF-90 nanocrystals and the derived nano-composite membranes for hydrogen separation

Tingxu Yang, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Nanocrystals of ZIF-90 have been synthesized at room temperature through a novel procedure and incorporated into PBI-based nano-composite membranes for hydrogen purification. The physical and chemical structures of the ZIF-90 nanoparticles have been examined via multiple advanced instrumental analyses including DLS, XRD, FESEM, NMR and FTIR. The nanocrystals show identical morphology, crystallinity and chemical structure but a significantly reduced particle size (around 100 nm) when compared with the ZIF-90 particles in previous studies. The derived ZIF-90-PBI nano-composite membranes exhibit homogeneous particle dispersion and fine particle-polymer adhesion, as well as excellent hydrogen purification performance at various testing conditions. The 45/55 (w/w) ZIF-90-PBI membrane with the highest ZIF-90 volume loading of up to 50.9 vol% possesses the best ideal H2-CO2 separation performance with a moderate H2 permeability of 24.5 Barrer and a high H2-CO2 selectivity of 25.0 in pure gas permeation tests at 35 °C. The membrane also shows promoted gas separation performance during mixed gas tests at 180 °C with an H2 permeability of 226.9 Barrer and an H2-CO2 separation factor of 13.3 that surpasses the latest Robeson upper bound for H2-CO2 separation. This work not only expands the field of nano-composite membrane fabrication, but also provides prospects for interdisciplinary research combining nano-science and chemical engineering for clean energy development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6081-6090
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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