Author(s): J P Brun, G Bulvestre, A Kergreis, M Guillou
The permeation characteristics and the selectivity of four nitrile rubber films with respect to 1,3-butadiene and isobutene were studied as a function of experimental conditions and the nature of membrane material. A specific research apparatus was developed, allowing the determination of both permeation rate and selectivity, at a temperature varying between 0° and 30°C and under a pressure of from 1 to 3 bars. The inverse proportion of permeation rate to membrane thickness was verified for a thickness of from 12 to 500 microns. An increase in temperature promotes liquid permeation and is detrimental to gas permeation, the latter being facilitated by an increase in pressure. The introduction of an inert gas pressure on the liquid did not bring about an increase in the liquid permeation rate. The permeation rate decreases as a result of an increase in the proportion of acrylonitrile in the rubber, which also affects selectivity; the latter reaches a maximum value when said proportion is about 23%. The effect of the composition of the feed mixture was also studied and curves were determined relating, simultaneously, selectivity and permeation rate to the 1,3-butadiene content. Selectivity is maximal with mixtures having a very high 1,3-butadiene content. The solubilities of 1,3-butadiene and of isobutene in the four types of nitrile rubber were measured at 0°C and at 20°C (68°F). Selectivity can be interpreted in terms of the solubilities of the two hydrocarbons.