Palladium-silver (Pd-Ag) diffusers are mainstays of hydrogen processing. Diffusers separate hydrogen from inert species such as nitrogen, argon or helium. The tubing becomes permeable to hydrogen when heated to more than 250°C and a differential pressure is created across the membrane. The hydrogen diffuses better at higher temperatures. Experimental or experiential results have been the basis for determining or predicting a diffuser's performance. However, the process can be mathematically modeled, and comparison to experimental or other operating data can be utilized to improve the fit of the model. A reliable model-based diffuser system design is the goal which will have impacts on tritium and hydrogen processing.

A computer model has been developed to solve the differential equations for diffusion given the operating boundary conditions. The model was compared to operating data for a low pressure diffuser system. The modeling approach and the results are presented in this paper.