Comparison of supported liquid membranes and solid-phase extraction for quantitative removal of lead from aqueous solutions

Emily Ruth Yourd, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Julian Tyson, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The selective transport of a target metal ion across a membrane from a donor to an acceptor solution is an attractive concept for preconcentration or separation in a flow injection (FI) system. However, we found that the transport of lead across a supported liquid membrane consisting of dicyclohexano-18-crown-6 in decanol embedded in Celgard 2400 was too slow to be practical for an FI atomic spectrometry system. On the other hand, the same chemistry in an on-line, solid-phase reactor (a mini-column containing Pb-Spec resin) gave a satisfactory performance. In an attempt to understand the kinetics of the system, we have calculated the rate of transport across the membrane. As flux is proportional to concentration on the donor side — which decreases with time — we performed a series of numerical simulations involving fixed time intervals of decreasing values. These calculations show that for the sizes of membranes in a typical FI system, transport is very slow compared with the adsorption of lead by the Pb-Spec resin: it takes about 100 min for the concentration in a 0.06 mL donor solution to decrease by a factor of 1000. The time required for the same decrease in concentration for a membrane having the same surface area and ligand concentration as the Pb-Spec column was calculated as approximately 9 s.