Controlled ceramic porosity and membrane fabrication via alumoxane nanoparticles
Jones, Christopher Daniel
Barron, Andrew R.
Doctor of Philosophy
Carboxylate-alumoxanes, [Al(O)x(OH)y(O2CR) z]n, are organic substituted alumina nano-particles synthesized from boehmite in aqueous solution which are an inexpensive and environmentally-benign precursor for the fabrication of aluminum based ceramic bodies. The carboxylate-ligand on the alumoxane determines the morphology and the porosity of the derived alumina. Investigations of A-, MA-, MEA-, and MEEA-alumoxanes, were undertaken to determine the effects of these organic peripheries on the properties of the alumina at different sintering temperatures including the morphology, surface area, pore volume, pore size, pore size distribution, and crystal phase. The effects of physically or chemically mixing different carboxylate-alumoxanes were also investigated. The alumina derived from the thermolysis of the carboxylate-alumoxanes exhibits small pore diameters and narrow pore size distributions that are desirable for use in ceramic ultrafiltration membranes. In addition, it is possible to form alumina membranes with a range of pore sizes and porosity by changing the organic periphery. This lead to investigating the ability to produce asymmetric alumina filters with characteristics that at the lower end of the ultrafiltration range. The flux, permeability, molecular weight cut-off, roughness, and wettability of the asymmetric alumina membranes derived from carboxylate-alumoxanes are determined. Comparisons of these filters are made with commercially available filters. The ability to dope carboxylate-alumoxanes via a transmetallation reaction followed by thermolysis has previously shown to result in catalytically active alumina based materials. This lead to investigations into forming catalytically active membranes. Dip-coating aqueous solutions of the doped carboxylate-alumoxanes onto porous alumina supports, followed by thermolysis, resulted in the formation of doped-alumina asymmetric filters. In addition, a novel method to form surface-modified carboxylate-alumoxanes and their application as catalytic materials was determined.
Inorganic chemistry; Chemical engineering; Engineering; Materials science