Although nineteenth century scientists attempting to understand the phenomenon of osmosis (e.g.Graham 1861) are generally credited with the discovery of semipermeable membranes, modern exploitation for industrial applications of dialysis must be credited to twentieth century workers. In the first part of this century, two applications of dialysis were widely described. One was the recovery of NaOH from cellulose steeping liquors. These contained both the desired alkali and contaminating hemicelluloses. The steeping liquors, containing 20% NaOH, were dialyzed against water and the NaOH—which permeated the parchment “membranes”—was recovered as a dilute (4 to 5%) solution. The contaminating hemicelluloses remained behind and were used as fuel or partially recycled into the cellulose feed streams. A second early application of dialysis was the recovery of acid from copper leaching solutions. Dilute sulfuric acid was recovered by dialysis because the acid diffused much more rapidly than did the metal salts.
KeywordsRelative Permeability Feed Stream Pore Dimension Semipermeable Membrane Artificial Kidney
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