Cracks are frequently formed in α-alumina supported MFI membranes during calcination. To better understand crack formation, in situ powder diffraction data were collected during calcination of a type of MFI membrane (ca. 1800 nm thick) which is known to crack reproducibly. In addition, data for MFI powder and a blank support were also collected. Both a synchrotron radiation facility and an in-house instrument were used. The unit cell parameters were determined with the Rietveld method, and the strain in the direction perpendicular to the film surface was calculated for the film as well as for the support. The microstrain in the support was also estimated. Based on the results obtained here, a model for crack formation in this type of MFI membrane was proposed. The lack of cracks in other types of MFI membranes (ca. 500 nm) prepared in our laboratory is also explained by the model. In thicker MFI films, the crystals are well intergrown. During heating, the MFI crystals contract and the α-alumina support expands. Consequently, a thermal stress develops in the composite which eventually leads to formation of cracks in the film and structural defects in the support. In thinner films, the crystals are less well intergrown and the thermal expansion mismatch leads to opening of grain boundaries rather than cracks.
Crack formation in α-alumina supported MFI zeolite membranes studied by in situ high temperature synchrotron powder diffraction / Gualtieri, Eva Magdalena; C., Andersson; F., Jareman; J., Hedlund; Gualtieri, Alessandro; M., Leoni; C., Meneghini. - In: JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE. - ISSN 0376-7388. - STAMPA. - 290:1-2(2007), pp. 95-104. [10.1016/j.memsci.2006.12.018]