An ion exchange membrane is an item that helps transport dissolved ions over a polymeric membrane. These membranes are common in chemical recovery and desalination applications, which require moving ions from a solution to another solution without using a large amount of water. However, they are also increasingly useful in technology relating to fuel cells.
There are two major classes of membranes: heterogeneous and homogeneous. The heterogeneous option is more inexpensive and offers a higher resistance and thicker composition which can lead to fouling. Homogeneous membranes, on the other hand, are thinner and have lower resistance, but are more expensive to produce. The homogeneous membrane surface can also be altered to modify the permselectivity to divalent ions, monovalent ions, and protons.
Permselectivity refers to the charge selectivity of a particular ion exchange membrane. It refers to how well a membrane is capable of discriminating between ions that have opposite charges.
Some of the most common uses of ion exchange membranes are in diffusion dialysis or electrodialysis by means of a concentration gradient or electrical potential to transport cationic and anionic species in a selective way. For example, with a desalination process using electrodialysis, both anion and cation exchange membranes will be arranged in an alternating pattern in between a cathode and anode in the electrodialysis state.
When considering industrial electrodialysis stacks, there are two chambers. One is the concentrate reject chamber and the other is the product water chamber. While the stack if operating, the product transfers its salts into the concentrate. Because of this, the reject steam becomes more concentrated as the product stream has salt removed from it.
Some of the most exciting properties of ion exchange membranes are the following:
* The chemical and mechanical stability and swelling found in various electrolyte mixtures
* The permselectivity associated with the membrane for various ions
* The rate of transport for neural components such as water
* The electrical resistance that is found in different solutions of electrolytes
* The density and type of charges and distribution through the membrane matrix
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