Recent data from the literature dealing with the influence on oxygen transport of porous nanophase ion conducting ceramics are reviewed, and then transposed to the design of mesoporous nanophase ceria-based membranes. Mesoporous CeO2/Al2O3 and Gd doped CeO2 membranes containing Pd and Pt nanoparticles were prepared using the sol-gel process. Permeation of N2 and O2 single gases was studied in a temperature range 20–500°C. Permeation measurements indicate an activated oxygen transport in agreement with the literature data. A synergetic effect of the noble metal nanoparticles on oxygen transport has been evidenced, in relation with the triple phase boundary concept. However, these membranes do not perform totally the preferential oxygen transport predicted by the theory. Several directions are proposed for membrane improvement, in particular concerning pore and grain optimal sizes.
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