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Separation of gases by microfluidic soap films

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Whether to purify the air from fine particle pollution or to obtain pure gases, our filtration and gas separation needs are increasing rapidly. Among the various techniques used, gas separation by thin membranes, which form a permeable barrier through which the various gaseous compounds are filtered according to their size, diffusivity or solubility in the membranes, is in full expansion.

However, these thin membranes are easily clogged, which reduces their efficiency. To circumvent this disadvantage, it has been proposed to use liquid membranes consisting of films flowing on a surface. However, these are not very selective and therefore not very efficient for separation. Recently, we have shown that "low-tech" liquid membranes made of soap films are both non-clogging and selective. Indeed, the contrast in permeability of simple gases such as N2 or CO2 through soap films self-supporting on a solid support is sufficiently important to consider gas separation. The objective of this experimental stage is to go one step further and to achieve the separation of two gases in a microfluidic device with a soap film.

Elise Lorenceau (