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Polymers 2016, 8(3), 76;

Polymer Inclusion Membranes (PIM) for the Recovery of Potassium in the Presence of Competitive Cations

Department of Polymer Chemistry, Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, P.O. Box 1113, 8911 MA Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Membrane Science and Technology, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Membrane Materials & Processes, Department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry Eindhoven University of Technology, Groene Loper 5, 5612 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Scott M. Husson
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Thin Films and Membranes 2015)
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Potassium is an important nutrient used in fertilizers but is not always naturally available We investigated the properties of polymer inclusion membranes (PIM) regarding their selective recovery of K+ over competitive ions typically present in urine (Na+ and NH4+). The greatest flux was observed when the ratio of mass 2-nitrophenyl octyl ether (2-NPOE) used as plasticizer to cellulose triacetate (CTA) used as polymer was 0.25. The highest flux was achieved with a content of 24.8 wt % of dicyclohexan-18-crown-6 (DCH18C6) used as carrier, although the highest selectivity was observed with a content of 14.0 wt % of DCH18C6. We also studied whether the transport mechanism occurring in our system was based on co-transport of a counter-ion or ion exchange. Two different receiving phases (ultrapure water and 100 mM HCl) were tested. Results on transport mechanisms suggest that co-transport of cations and anions is taking place across our PIMs. The membrane deteriorated and lost its properties when the receiving phase was acidic; we suggested that this was due to hydrolysis of CTA. The greatest flux and selectivity were observed in ultrapure water as receiving phase. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer inclusion membrane; crown ether; potassium recovery; transport mechanism polymer inclusion membrane; crown ether; potassium recovery; transport mechanism

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Casadellà, A.; Schaetzle, O.; Nijmeijer, K.; Loos, K. Polymer Inclusion Membranes (PIM) for the Recovery of Potassium in the Presence of Competitive Cations. Polymers 2016, 8, 76.

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