The relationship between ion size and sorption properties in water swollen uncharged polymers was investigated as a model system for understanding ion sorption and transport in more complex systems (i.e., charged polymer networks). Alkali metal chloride (e.g., LiCl, NaCl, and KCl) sorption coefficients in a series of cross-linked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (XLPEGDA) polymer membranes were measured as a function of external salt concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 1.0 M. The relative order of salt sorption coefficients was: KCl > LiCl > NaCl. This order does not correspond to the order of ion hydration size (i.e., Li+ > Na+ > K+). The alkali metal chloride sorption behavior in XLPEGDA polymers is influenced by both ion hydration and polymer-ion specific interactions. XLPEGDA polymers having three different equilibrium water uptake values were prepared to investigate the effect of water content on salt sorption in these polymers. Generally, ion sorption coefficients increase as polymer water content increases. Salt activity coefficients in the polymers were quantified to better understand the thermodynamic non-ideality of ions in polymer networks. Flory-Rehner theory was used to predict water volume fraction in the polymers equilibrated with salt solution based on salt sorption measurements.
- Alkali metal chlorides
- Salt sorption