Ion and water transport in functionalized PEEK membranes

Xiaoming Yan, Gaohong He, Xuemei Wu, Jay Benziger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Water sorption, water transport and ion transport are compared for polyether-ether ketone polymers functionalized with sulfonic acid, quaternary amine hydroxide, and imidazolium hydroxide. Water sorption in all three ionomers increases modestly with increasing water activity up to aw=0.6 and then increases more rapidly between 0.6<aw<1.0. Ionic conductivity in all three ionomers is negligible for aw<0.6; ionic conductivity increases exponentially with increasing water activity for aw>0.6. The increase in ion conductivity with increasing water activity is 10 times greater for the proton exchanged polymer compared to the hydroxide exchanged polymers. Water permeation from partially saturated vapor streams is primarily diffusion limited for all three ionomers and the permeation rates were approximately the same. Water pervaporation from liquid water appeared to be interfacial transport limited for membranes<120μm thick; the pervaporation rates at 40 and 60°C were independent of membrane thickness. Water sorption and transport show little dependence on the mobile ion while the ion transport appears to depend on both ion size and hydrophilicity of the fixed ion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


  • Ionic conductivity
  • Ionomer
  • Polyether-ether ketone
  • Water permeation


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