On-line method to study dynamics of ion adsorption from mixtures of salts in capacitive deionization

J.E. Dykstra, J. Dijkstra, A. van der Wal, H.V.M. Hamelers, S. Porada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Capacitive Deionization (CDI) is a water desalination technology that adsorbs ions into two oppositely polarized porous carbon electrodes, under the action of an applied voltage. Here, we introduce a novel method to analyze the effluent concentration of multiple ionic species in mixtures of salt solutions by directing the outflow of a CDI cell to an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) instrument. Compared to previous methods based on manual sampling, the on-line use of ICP-OES allows collecting more accurate time-dependent ion adsorption data, and therefore, ion dynamics can be studied even at very short half-cycle times. We use this method to study ion adsorption from a mixed solution containing two monovalent cations with similar radius, namely potassium and sodium. We find that potassium ions are preferentially adsorbed over sodium ions, due to their higher mobility. Furthermore, we compare our experimental findings with a novel multicomponent electromigration model that calculates dynamic adsorption of ions from solutions of multiple salts. Whereas we find good agreement between data and theory at low half cycle times, we observe a considerable discrepancy at higher values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Capacitive Deionization
  • Electrosorption
  • Ionic mixtures
  • Salt removal
  • Selective ion removal


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