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  English.dicp.cas.cn    Posted:2013-06-06
Ceramic hollow fibre membranes and their applications

Time:2013.6.7  13:30

Location:Academic Hall of Bio-tech Building

Lecturer: Pro. K Li

Imperial College London


Li Kang has been a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London since 2007. Prior to his present appointment, he worked as a reader and senior Lecturer at Imperial College London, as a senior Lecturer at University of Bath and as a research scientist, lecturer and senior Lecturer at National University of Singapore between 1990 and 2007. He received his PhD from University of Salford, U.K. in 1991. He currently leads a research group at Imperial having 2 MSc students, 8 PhD students and 3 post-doctoral research fellows to carry out research in preparation and characterisation of polymeric and inorganic hollow fibre membranes, fluid separations using membranes, and membrane reactors for energy application and CO2 capture. Recent publications on the high quality dual-layer ceramic hollow fibres for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and compact hollow fibre membrane reactor for methane conversion have not been attempted by any other researchers due to a number of technique challenges. And the techniques developed by his group for the fabrication of high quality single-layer, dual-layer or even triple-layer ceramic hollow fibre membranes with controllable morphology and microstructure has been considered as to date the most advanced technique in this field of research.

Li Kang is/was also a visiting professor in Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, Nanjing University of Technology, China, Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia, University Sao Paulo, Brazil and University Technology Malaysia. He has published over 180+ research papers in international referred journals with citation times of 3488 and h-index of 32 (web of knowledge), holds five patents and is the author of a book in the area of ceramic membranes (Ceramic Membranes for Separation and Reaction, John Wiley, 2007). He serves as an editor of Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering for the Separation Technologies Subject Area and as editorial board members of Journal of Membrane Science, Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology and Advances in Environmental Research and Development (AERD). He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 


A catalytic membrane reactor combines the processes of reaction and separation and is consequently a compact and efficient system for carrying out separations and catalytic reactions. Its capacity can be further increased by the use of a hollow fibre configuration due to the extremely large surface area per unit volume that can be achieved in this way. However, as both the separation and support layers are the integral part of the system, their properties greatly affect the performance of the reactor as a whole so it is essential to be able to control the microstructure of the separation layer, the macrostructure of the support layer as well as their adhesion to achieve high levels of efficiency. Therefore, new techniques for manipulating the complex ceramic hollow fibre morphology and its integrity must be developed.

The formation process and morphology of asymmetric ceramic hollow fibre membranes have been studied. Experimental results obtained so far indicate that two types of membrane morphologies, i.e. micro-channel and sponge structures can be expected. The formation of these structures in asymmetric ceramic membranes is due to hydrodynamically unstable viscous fingering developed when a less viscous fluid (non-solvent) is in contact with a higher viscosity fluid (ceramic suspension containing invertible polymer binder). When the rate of viscous fingering is faster than that of the phase-inversion, micro-channels are obtained; otherwise, a sponge structure is prevailed. 

To better understand the relationship between non-solvent concentration in the spinning suspension and viscosity, with regard to membrane morphologies, the two parameters have been varied systematically so as to determine the dominating factor, while dynamic video-microscopy has been employed to visualize the formation of the micro-channels. In addition to the high quality single-layer hollow fibre membranes prepared, dual-layer or even triple-layer ceramic composite hollow fibre membranes with controllable morphology and microstructure have also been developed for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and compact hollow fibre membrane reactor for methane conversion. Finally, use of the developed ceramic hollow fibre membrane as a support for the \

Contact:504 Weiping Wang(9301)



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