Diffusion of mobile products in reactive barrier membranes

Tsutomu Shimotori, Edward L. Cussler, William A. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Diffusion of mobile products produced in reactive barrier membranes was studied theoretically and experimentally. A diaphragm cell in which a reactive solute challenges a reactive membrane was adopted for this purpose. A diffusion equation with a reaction term describes the behavior of a mobile product before breakthrough of the solute, while the common diffusion equation governs the system after the breakthrough. An approximate, analytical solution was derived to this diffusion problem based on a pseudo-steady state assumption, and the result agreed closely with a numerical solution without assumptions. A poly(vinyl alcohol) membrane containing zinc oxide particles was challenged by hydrochloric acid in a diffusion experiment to validate the theoretical predictions. Diffusion of zinc chloride, the mobile reaction product, was monitored using a colorimetric method. The experimental results matched the analytical model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate financial support from the Environmental Management Science Program of the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, grant DE-FG07-02ER63509. Other support came from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant F49620-01-1-0333. We also thank the University of Minnesota Graduate School for awarding a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship to Tsutomu Shimotori and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


  • Breakthrough
  • Diffusion
  • Modeling
  • Products
  • Reactive membranes


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