Pervaporation study for the dehydration of tetrahydrofuran-water mixtures by polymeric and ceramic membranes

Colleen A. McGinness, C. Stewart Slater, Mariano J. Savelski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pervaporation technology can effectively separate a tetrahydrofuran (THF) solvent-water waste stream at an azeotropic concentration. The performance of a Sulzer® 2210 polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) membrane and a Pervatech BV® silica membrane were studied, as the operating variables feed temperature and permeate pressure, were varied. The silica membrane was found to exhibit a flux of almost double that of the PVA membrane, but both membranes had comparable separation ability in purifying the solvent-water mixture. At benchmark feed conditions of 96 wt% THF and 4 wt% water, 50°C and 10 torr permeate pressure, the silica membrane flux was 0.276 kg/m2hr and selectivity was 365. For both membranes, flux was found to increase at an exponential rate as the feed temperature increased from 20 to 60°C. The flux through the silica membrane increases at a 6% faster rate than the PVA membrane. Flux decreased as permeate pressure was increased from 5 to 25 torr for both membranes. The amount of water in the permeate decreased exponentially as the permeate pressure was increased, but increased linearly with increasing temperature. Optimum conditions for flux and selectivity are at low permeate pressure and high feed temperature. When a small amount of salt is added to the feed solution, an increase in flux is observed. Overall models for flux and permeate concentration were created from the experimental data. The models were used to predict scale-up performance in separating an azeotropic feed waste to produce dehydrated THF solvent for reuse and a permeate stream with a dilute THF concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1673-1684
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Pervaporation study for the dehydration of tetrahydrofuran-water mixtures by polymeric and ceramic membranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this