Production and Characterization of a Silica-Alumina Membrane Using Novel Tubular Freeze-Cast Substrates

Development of new ceramic membranes has recently grown due to its superior thermal and mechanical stability. An interesting approach to manufacture asymmetric membranes is the production of aligned pore structure by the freeze-casting method. The lack of studies involving membrane production with tubular freeze-cast substrates warrants more research. In this study, a novel tubular freeze-cast alumina substrate was used for deposition of a silica top layer. The substrate showed radially aligned pores, indicating precise structure control. The obtained pore structure shows high potential for membrane manufacture. The silica layer was produced by the sol-gel method and dip-coated on the substrates with two different withdrawal speeds. The microporous silica showed pores smaller than 2 nm. The highest withdrawal speed resulted in broader substrate coverage. However, a uniform silica layer was only obtained after a second deposition. These results confirm the viability to use tubular freeze-cast substrates for production of nanofiltration membranes.