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Development of cation and anion exchange membranes for saline water concentration using high-energy heavy-ion beams

Sawada, Shinichi*; Yasukawa, Masahiro*; Koshikawa, Hiroshi*; Kitamura, Akane; Higa, Mitsuru*; Yamaki, Tetsuya*

For applications to saline water concentration by electrodialysis, we prepared nano-structure-controlled cation and anion exchange membranes (CEMs and AEMs) by a so-called ion-track grafting technique. This new technique involves irradiation of a polymer substrate with an MeV-GeV heavy-ion beam to form the nano-sized cylindrical ion tracks and the graft polymerization only into the ion tracks for the creation of one-dimensional transport pathways. A 25-$$mu$$m-thick poly(ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene) film was irradiated with 560 MeV $$^{129}$$Xe or 310 MeV $$^{84}$$Kr. The irradiated films were immersed in grafting solutions of ethyl p-styrenesulfonate (EtSS) and chloromethylstyrene (CMS),and then subjected to the hydrolysis of EtSS units and quaternization of CMS units to prepare CEMs and AEMs, respectively. These CEMs and AEMs showed lower resistance than the commercially-available membranes even at the very low water uptake. This would be due to the signifcantly-effcient transport of ions through the unique one-dimensional highly-connected transport pathways. In the saline water concentration experiment, a pair of our CEM and a commercial AEM or vice versa led to a higher salt concentration in the concentration chamber than did a pair of the commercial membranes. This result demonstrated great applicability of our ion-track-grafted CEMs and AEMs for saline water concentration.

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