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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 932723, 12 pages
Research Article

Ultrathin Sicopion Composite Cation-Exchange Membranes: Characteristics and Electrodialytic Performance following a Conditioning Procedure

1Dairy Science and Technology Group (STELA), Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF) and Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Pavillon Paul Comtois, Laval University, Sainte-Foy, QC, Canada G1V 0A6
2SiM Composites, 4925 Rue Lionel Groulx, Bureau 11, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC, Canada G3A 1V1

Received 20 October 2011; Accepted 18 January 2012

Academic Editor: Tongwen Xu

Copyright © 2012 Erik Ayala-Bribiesca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this work was to investigate the properties of Sicopion membranes: an ultrathin (≈20 μm) composite cation-exchange membrane (CEM) made from sulphonated poly(ether-ether-ketone) (SPEEK) containing different levels of sulphonic-functionalized silica particles (SFSPs). Sicopion membranes were conditioned according to the French Normalization Association procedure, consisting in a series of acid and alkaline washes, and their electrodialytic characteristics were compared to an existent commercial food-grade membrane (CMX-SB). Electrical conductivity of Sicopion membranes was higher than that of CMX-SB membranes (9.92 versus 6.98 mS/cm), as well as their water content (34.0 versus 27.6%). As the SFSP level was reduced, the ion-exchange capacity (IEC) of Sicopion membranes increased. Concerning their electrodialytic performances, Sicopion membranes presented a lower demineralization rate than CMX-SB membranes (35.9 versus 45.5%), due to an OH leakage through the pores created by dislodging the SFSP particles during the conditioning procedure.