Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Environmental Science and Engineering


XiuJun (James) Li

Second Advisor

W.Shane Walker


The high cost of ion exchange membranes significantly limits the public application of electrodialysis. The research of novel, inexpensive ion exchange membranes is essential to developing and applying electrodialysis desalination technology. This research focuses on fabricating cation exchange membranes with polyethersulfone (PES) and sulfonated PES (sPES) for water treatment. N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP) was used as an organic solvent to dissolve PES. After different solvent evaporation times were optimized from 0 hr to 24 hr, those membranes were formed through the phase inversion technique. The performance results show that the PES membranes performed the best when the solvent evaporated at 3 hr, while sPES membranes performed the best when the solvent evaporated within 1 hr. The electrodialysis (ED) test results were evaluated with different running conditions such as voltages, flow velocities, and feed solutions. LabVIEW software was used to collect data, including voltage, current, conductivity, etc. Compared with commercial Neosepta cation exchange membranes under the same test conditions, the salinity reduction rates performance of fabricated PES and sPES membranes are approximately 40% and 60% of Neosepta commercial membranes, respectively. Finally, the two membrane combinations with fabricated PES and sPES membranes have a relative transport number (RTN) of SO4 2-/Cl- both around 0.1; this is probably due to the co-ion transport through fabricated CEMs. The developed membranes have great potential in cost-effective desalination to address the global water crisis.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

90 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Li Chen