Pd-Cu-M (M= Y, Ti, Zr, V, Nb, and Ni) alloys for the hydrogen separation membrane

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Self-supported fcc Pd–Cu–M (M = Y, Ti, Zr, V, Nb, and Ni) alloys were studied as potential hydrogen purification membranes. The effects of small additions (1–2.6 at. %) of these elements on the structure, hydrogen solubility, diffusivity, and permeability were examined. Structural analyses by X-ray diffraction (XRD) showed the fcc phase for all alloys with induced textures from cold rolling. Heat treatment at 650 °C for 96 h led to the reorientation in all alloys except the Pd–Cu–Zr alloy, exhibiting the possibility to enhance the structural stability by Zr addition. Hydrogen solubility was almost doubled in the ternary alloys containing Y and Zr compared to Pd65.1Cu34.9 alloy at 300 °C. It was noted that hydrogen diffusivity is decreased upon additions of these elements compared to the Pd65.1Cu34.9 alloy, with the Pd–Cu–Zr alloy showing the lowest hydrogen diffusivity. However, the comparable hydrogen permeability of the Pd–Cu–Zr alloy with the corresponding binary alloy, as well as its highest hydrogen permeability among the studied ternary alloys at temperatures higher than 300 °C, suggested that hydrogen permeation of these alloys within the fcc phase is mainly dominated by hydrogen solubility. Hydrogen flux variations of all ternary alloys were studied and compared with the Pd65.1Cu34.9 alloy under 1000 ppm of H2S + H2 feed gas. Pd–Cu–Zr alloy showed superior resistance to the sulfur poisoning probably due to the less favorable H2S–surface interaction and more importantly slower rate of bulk sulfidation as a result of improved structural stability upon Zr addition. Therefore, Pd–Cu–Zr alloys may offer new potential hydrogen purification membranes with improved chemical stability and hydrogen permeation compared to the binary fcc Pd–Cu alloys.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2650-2661
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number3
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2016


  • hydrogen separation; metallic membranes; Pd-based membranes; Pd−Cu; ternary alloys