Analyzing ion uptake in ion-exchange membranes using ion association model

Yaeli S. Oren, Oded Nir, Viatcheslav Freger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Predicting ion uptake and selectivity in ion-exchange membranes is desired for many applications, yet a suitable physical description defining the most appropriate ion-specific parameters is still challenging. Here, we systematically develop an ion-association-based approach to modeling ion uptake in ion-exchange membranes from solutions of symmetric and non-symmetric salts. The model treats association in an ion-specific manner, self-consistently accounting for equilibria between free ions in solution and within the membrane phase (salt injection) and between free and associated species within the membrane (association equilibria), subjects to overall membrane electroneutrality. The resulting models, including different possible association equilibria, were employed to fit the reported data for Nafion 117 and CR61 cation-exchange membranes in equilibrium with NaCl, MgCl2, CaCl2, and Na2SO4 single-salt solutions. The results are compared with the previously reported fits to the Manning condensation model, which shows that both models produce similarly good fits for NaCl, MgCl2, and CaCl2 solutions in the 0.01 to 1 M range. However, the greater flexibility and specificity of the association model allow addressing deviations observed for Na2SO4 solutions and for CaCl2 above 1 M as free-ion paring and possible formation of charged NaSO4- and CaCl+ pairs, respectively. The results demonstrate the present model may be a sound non-mean-field alternative to the Manning condensation model, capable of addressing ion-specificity and multiple modes of association.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122202
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2024


  • Ion association and pairing
  • Ion exchange membranes
  • Ion partitioning
  • Ion permeability
  • Manning condensation
  • Membrane transport theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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