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International Journal of Nephrology
Volume 2012, Article ID 718085, 9 pages
Research Article

Theoretical Application of Irreversible (Nonequilibrium) Thermodynamic Principles to Enhance Solute Fluxes across Nanofabricated Hemodialysis Membranes

1College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan, 105 Wiggins Road, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5E4
2Saskatchewan Transplant Program, St. Paul’s Hospital, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7M 0Z9
3Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0W8

Received 8 June 2012; Revised 19 July 2012; Accepted 6 August 2012

Academic Editor: Ziyad Al-Aly

Copyright © 2012 Assem Hedayat 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.


Objective. Nanotechnology has the potential to improve hemodialysis membrane technology. Thus, a major objective is to understand how to enhance toxic solute fluxes across these membranes. The aim of this concept building study is to review the application of irreversible thermodynamic (IT) to solute fluxes. Methods. We expanded the application of the Nernst-Planck equation to include the Kedem-Katchalsky equation, pH, membrane thickness, pore size, and electric potential as variables. Results. (1) Reducing the membrane’s thickness from 25 μm to 25 nm increased the flux of creatinine, -microglobulin, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) by a thousand times but prevented completely albumin flux, (2) applying an electric potential of 50–400 mV across the membrane enhanced the flux of the respective molecules by , , and  mol/s, and (3) changing the pH from 7.35 to 7.42 altered the fluxes minimally. Conclusions. The results supported an argument to investigate the application of IT to study forces of fluxes across membranes. Reducing the membrane’s thickness—together with the application of an electrical potential—qualities achievable by nanotechnology, can enhance the removal of uremic toxins by many folds. However, changing the pH at a specific membrane thickness does not affect the flux significantly.