3D-printed SAPO-34 monoliths for gas separation
A 3D printing method (the Direct Ink writing, DIW, method) is applied to produce SAPO-34 zeolite based structured adsorbents with the shape of a honeycomb-like monolith. The use of the 3D printing technique gives this structure a well-defined and easily adaptable geometry. As binder material, methyl cellulose was used. The SAPO-34 monolith was characterized by SEM as well as Ar and Hg porosimetry. The CO2 adsorption affinity, capacity and heat of adsorption were determined by recording high pressure adsorption isotherms at different temperatures, using the gravimetric technique. The separation potential was investigated by means of breakthrough experiments with mixtures of CO2 and N2. The experimental selectivity of CO2/N2 separation was compared to the selectivity as predicted by the Ideal Adsorbed Solution Theory. A drop in capacity was noticed during the experiments and N2 capacities were close to zero or slightly negative due to the very low adsorption, meaning absolute selectivity values could not be determined. However, due to the low N2 capacity, experimental selectivity is estimated to be excellent as was predicted with IAST. While the 3D printing is found to be a practical, fast and flexible route to generate monolithic adsorbent structures, improvements in formulation are required in terms of sample robustness for handling purposes and heat transfer characteristics of the obtained monoliths during gas separation.