A process and apparatus for separating a gas mixture comprising providing a slot in a gas separation channel (conceptualized as a laterally elongated Clusius-Dickel column), having a length through which a net cross-flow of the gas mixture may be established; applying a higher temperature to one side of the channel and a lower temperature on an opposite side of the channel thereby causing thermal-diffusion and buoyant-convection flow to occur in the slot; and establishing a net cross-flow of a gas mixture comprising at least one higher density gas component and at least one lower density gas component along the length of the slot, wherein the cross-flow causes, in combination with the convection flow, a spiraling flow in the slot; and wherein the spiral flow causes an increasing amount of separation of the higher density gas from the lower density gas along the length of the channel. The process may use one or more slots and/or channels.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was developed under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 between Sandia Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in the invention.