On the origin of the membrane potential arising across densely charged ion exchange membranes: How well does the teorell-meyer-sievers theory work?

A.H. Galama, J.W. Post, H.V.M. Hamelers, V.V. Nikonenko, P.M. Biesheuvel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A difference in salt concentration in two solutions separated by a membrane leads to an electrical potential difference across the membrane, also without applied current. A literature study is presented on proposed theories for the origin of this membrane potential (Φm). The most well-known theoretical description is Teorell-Meyer-Sievers (TMS) theory, which we analyze and extend. Experimental data for Φm were obtained using a cation exchange membrane (CMX, Neosepta) and NaCl solutions (salt concentration from 1 mM to 5 M). Deviations between theory and experiments are observed, especially at larger salt concentration differences across the membrane. At a certain salt concentration ratio, a maximum in Φm is found, not predicted by the TMS theory. Before the maximum, TMS theory can be used as a good estimate of ?m though it overestimates the actual value. To improve the theory, various corrections to TMS theory were considered: A) Using ion activities instead of ionic concentration in the external solutions leads to an improved prediction; B) Inhomogeneous distribution of the membrane fixed charge has no effect on Φm; C) Consideration of stagnant diffusion layers on each side of the membrane can have a large effect on Φm; D) Reducing the average value of the fixed membrane charge density can also largely affect ?m; E) Allowing for water transport in the theory has a small effect; F) Considering differences in ionic mobility between co-ions and counterions in the membrane affects Φm significantly. Modifications C) and F) may help to explain the observed maximum in Φm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-140
JournalJournal of Membrane Science and Research
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Donnan equilibrium
  • Ion exchange membranes
  • Nernst-planck equation
  • Teorell-meyer-sievers (TMS) theory

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