Clemson University

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Fall 2018 Seminar Series

Mass Transport in Polymer Based Membranes for Gas Separation


Prof. Matteo Minelli

Associate Professor

Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental

and Materials Engineering

University of Bologna, Italy

The separation of gaseous streams by membranes is a clean and energy-effective alternative to conventional approaches, and it represents an interesting opportunity to the development of several engineering processes, including those associated to emerging needs, such as the capture of CO2. To this aim, polymeric materials provide a valuable solution for gas separation membranes, in view of their easiness of processing and manufacturing, although their productivity/efficiency performances are typically limited by the apparent trade-off among gas permeability and selectivity.

For this reason, significant efforts are still devoted to the development of novel materials with improved permeability and selectivity properties. The addition of inorganic moieties in an organic polymer matrix is able to provide the membrane of the desired selective ability, and to improve the permeability of the most permeable gases. Indeed, the filler can act as molecular sieve discriminating penetrating gases based on their dimensions (suitable e.g. for hydrogen purification, H2/CO2 separation). This approach proved to be very effective for the enhancement of the membrane performances of commercially available glassy polymers combined with 2-D nano-porous media as graphene derivatives.

The transport of small molecules in polymeric systems is also analyzed from a modeling point of view in order to provide useful material/performance correlations in order to improve both material development and process optimization. A simple and effective modeling approach is based on an equation of state method to describe the thermodynamic behavior of polymer/penetrant mixtures, including nonequilibrium glassy phases, coupled with a fundamental treatment of mass transport that accounts for the chemical potential gradient as the driving force of the diffusion processes. This model is able to describe any permeability behavior experimentally encountered, including nonmonotonous trends with penetrant pressure (plasticization effect), spanning over a very wide range of penetrants and polymers couples, either conventional or in recently developed technological materials.

Matteo Minelli is an Associate Professor at the department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering (DICAM) at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna (Italy), working in the Diffusion in Polymers and Membrane Separation research group.

The research activity is mainly focused on the development of novel polymer-based materials for gas separation membranes, and their characterization. The experimental activity includes also the study of gas and vapor sorption and transport phenomena in polymeric systems for various applications, such as barrier packaging or fuel cells.

The key aspect is the investigation of gas solubility, diffusivity and permeability properties in polymeric systems, by direct experimental characterization and modeling analysis. Such modeling approaches rely mainly on classical thermodynamics and on transport fundamentals for the investigation of penetrant solubility and permeability in polymers, both glassy and rubbery, and it includes the use of molecular simulation for the determination of polymer and penetrant specific properties.

He is coauthors of more than 70 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and more than 100 contributions to conferences and congresses. He is also member of the Editorial Board of Polymer Testing and reviewers for most of the international journals in chemical engineering, membrane science, materials and polymers science.

Friday, November 2, 2018 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Earle Hall, 100
206 S. Palmetto Blvd., Clemson, SC 29634

Event Type



College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Research Seminars

Target Audience

All Audiences

Contact Name:

Diana Stamey

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Recent Activity


Reibey254 4/23/2019

Current research in the department encompasses strong efforts in all areas of chemical engineering science, including catalysis, reaction engineering and energy