Asymmetric bipolar membrane: A tool to improve product purity

J.H. Balster, R. Sumbharaju, S. Srikantharajah, Ineke G.M. Punt, Dimitrios Stamatialis, V. Jordan, Matthias Wessling

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Bipolar membranes (BPMs) are catalytic membranes for electro-membrane processes splitting water into protons and hydroxyl ions. To improve selectivity and current efficiency of BPMs, we prepare new asymmetric BPMs with reduced salt leakages. The flux of salt ions across a BPM is determined by the co-ion transport across the respective layer of the membrane. BPM asymmetry can be used to decrease the co-ion fluxes through the membrane and shows that the change of the layer thickness and charge density of the corresponding ion exchange layer determines the co-ion flux. The modification of a commercial BP-1 with a thin additional cation exchange layer on the cationic side results in a 47% lower salt leakage. Thicker layers result in water diffusion limitations. In order to avoid water diffusion limitations we prepared tailor made BPMs with thin anion exchange layers, to increase the water flux into the membrane. Therefore a BPM could be prepared with a thick cation exchange layer showing a 62% decreased salt ion leakage through the cationic side of the membrane.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)246-256
JournalJournal of membrane science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • IR-58130
  • METIS-243813

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