If you read this message your browser is not standard !
although this site is perfectly accessible from any browser, some functionalities
are visible only with browsers respecting "W3C consortium" standards.

ENEA - Fusion division

Header with ENEA, FUSION and EURATOM logos

You are in: Home » Labs & Plants » Membrane Laboratory » details

Membrane Laboratory

Development, production and characterisation of membranes and membrane reactors

Detail of membrane reactorDetail of membrane reactor The laboratory develops and produces metallic membranes (in palladium alloy) for the separation in the gaseous phase of hydrogen and isotopes. In particular, a technology for the production of thin-walled (50?) Pd-Ag tubes by means of diffusion lamination and welding has been developed and patented. As these permeators are completely selective, it is possible to obtain ultra-pure hydrogen. Also, the reduced tube thickness means contained costs and improved performance in terms of high permeation fluxes.

As for the applications in the field of the fuel cycle of fusion reactors, a technology has been developed and tested for the separation of tritium from a palladium-alloy permeator tube housing a catalyser for the water gas shift reaction. This technology is actually being studied also for producing ultra-pure hydrogen from hydrocarbons in the dehydrogenation reactions (i.e., reforming and/or partial oxidization).

The laboratory houses a pilot plant for carrying out characterisation tests both on the membranes used in separation processes and on membrane reactors for hydrogenation/dehydrogenation. The membranes are characterised by measuring the permeation fluxes in controlled conditions of pressure and temperature. Gas chromatography analyses of the in/out gaseous currents of membrane modules are also performed during the tests on membrane reactors.

Membrane characterisation plantMembrane characterisation plant Gas chromatographyGas chromatography


The membrane laboratory carries out gas permeability measurements (air, nitrogen, helium, argon, hydrogen, etc.) through both organic and inorganic membranes, either dense or porous, in different configurations (tubes, discs, etc.). These characterisation tests are performed both on membranes used in industrial processes for separating gas from mixtures and on devices to verify their gas-seal (i.e., measurement of very low permeability values).
A technique has recently been developed for measuring the volume inside sealed vessels (e.g., tanks, tubes, valves, sockets, plants, experimental vessels, etc.). The technique is based on permeation measurements carried out in the gaseous phases and uses a system of measurement that includes a calibrated membrane of known permeance.


References and Publications