Isopropanol (IPA) is an important solvent and cleaning agent with wide applications in semiconductor, microelectronic and pharmaceutical industries. IPA is primarily produced by combining water and propene in a hydration reaction. The IPA produced is usually in a mixture with water and distillation is used to obtain IPA with 87.9% purity. Higher purity IPA can only be achieved through azeotropic distillation with cyclohexane or diisopropyl ether. In both cases, a large amount of energy is used for the purification process.
To lower purification cost, pervaporation, a membrane‐based technology, is a promising method because of its easy operation, low energy consumption and small footprint. Pervaporation is a membrane process whereby the permeate side is under vacuum and water is vapourised as it passes through the membrane from the feed side to the permeate side. Pervaporation is able to provide a high level of separation efficiency for azeotropic mixtures of alcohols and water to obtain the purity required for the alcohols.
This technology relates to a thin film composite (TFC) membranes on ceramic substrates (referred to as ceramic TFC membranes thereafter) for pervaporation dehydration of organics. The ceramic TFC membrane can be obtained by using interfacial polymerization on a microfiltration ceramic membrane. Compared to commercially available ceramic and polymeric membranes for pervaporation, it has extremely high water flux compared to other ceramic/polymeric membranes for pervaporation making it suitable for high volume processing.
The ceramic TFC can be applied in semiconductor, microelectronics and pharmaceutical industries including the following specific applications: