Effect of ultraviolet irradiation on the selective transport of alkali metal ions through 2,3-epithiopropyl methacrylate–methacrylic acid copolymer membrane

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Abstract

Cationic exchange membranes were prepared with 2,3-epithiopropyl methacrylate (ETMA)–methacrylic acid (MAc) copolymer. Transport of alkali metal ions against their concentration gradient through the membranes was investigated by using the system which contains HCl (left side) and alkali metal solution including two kinds of alkali hydroxides (right side). The effect of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation on the selective transport of alkali metal ions through the ETMA–MAc copolymer membranes was investigated. The membranes were irradiated with a 6-W low pressure mercury lamp at a distance of 10 cm at room temperature in air. The transport selectivity could be increased by using UV-irradiated membranes and the selectivity increased with increasing irradiation time up to 2–3 h, although the transport rate of alkali metal ions decreased with increasing time of UV irradiation. The maximum selectivity of K+/Na+, Na+/Li+, and K+/Li+ were 1.7, 2.0, and 4.2, respectively. In order to explain this phenomena, the effect of UV irradiation on the properties of the membranes was studied. It was concluded that the increase of the selectivity is attributed to the formation of the dense membrane by photocrosslinking of the membrane by UV irradiation.

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