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Organic Solvent Nanofiltration of Water-in-Oil Pickering Emulsions—What Influences Permeability?

— Authors: Maresa Vivien Kempin and Anja Drews —

Department II, Chemical Engineering in Life Science Engineering, HTW Berlin—University of Applied Sciences, Wilhelminenhofstraße 75A, 12459 Berlin, Germany

Pickering emulsions (PEs) have received increasing interest for their application in catalytic multiphase reactions. Organic solvent nanofiltration of PEs was shown to be a promising procedure for efficient and effective catalyst recycling. In this work, a systematic parameter study to identify the main influencing parameters on PE filtration was conducted for a large variety of PE compositions for the first time. In addition to temperature, only the type of organic solvent significantly influenced the filtration performance, which could be mathematically modeled via a combination of the solution–diffusion and the resistance in the series model. Particle type and concentration, dispersed phase fraction and the presence of reaction (by-)products did not show any significant impact on the permeability. The stirrer speed only became important when emulsions stabilized by particles without the tendency to form 3D network structures were filtered in long-term filtration experiments. These results pave the way towards the application of PE membrane filtration for catalyst recovery in continuous liquid/liquid multiphase reactions and enable broad operation windows. As the mechanical separation of PEs was shown to be a very robust process, the emulsion composition can now be tuned to meet the needs of the reaction without any (significant) loss in filtration performance.