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Structural and Permeation Kinetic Correlations in PdCuAg Membranes

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journal contribution
posted on 24.12.2014, 00:00 authored by Lingfang Zhao, Andreas Goldbach, Chun Bao, Hengyong Xu
Addition of Ag is a promising way to enhance the H2 permeability of sulfur-tolerant PdCu membranes for cleanup of coal-derived hydrogen. We investigated a series of PdCuAg membranes with at least 70 atom % Pd to elucidate the interdependence between alloy structure and H2 permeability. Membranes were prepared via sequential electroless plating of Pd, Ag, and Cu onto ceramic microfiltration membranes and subsequent alloying at elevated temperatures. Alloy formation was complicated by a wide miscibility gap in the PdCuAg phase diagram at the practically feasible operation temperatures. X-ray diffraction showed that the lattice constants of the fully alloyed ternary alloys obey Vegard’s law closely. In general, H2 permeation rates increased with increasing Ag and decreasing Cu content of the membranes in the investigated temperature range. Detailed examination of the permeation kinetics revealed compensation between activation energy and pre-exponential factor of the corresponding H2 permeation laws. The origin of this effect is discussed. Further analysis showed that the activation energy for H2 permeation decreases overall with increasing lattice constant of the ternary alloy. The combination of these correlations results in a structure–function relationship that will facilitate rational design of PdCuAg membranes.