International French-Russian Associated Laboratory “Ion-Exchange Membranes and Related Processes”


The activity of the French-Russian Laboratory is aimed at the generation of new knowledge pertinent for elaboration of novel membranes with optimized properties (via varying structure, chemical nature, surface asymmetry and topography) associated with optimized physico-chemical conditions of operation (electric and hydrodynamic)



•  Institut Européen des Membranes,  IEMM,  UMR 5635  CNRS / UM2; Montpellier
•  Institut de Chimie et des Matériaux de Paris Est, ICMPE UMR 7182 CNRS / Paris 12; Paris


•  Membrane Institute, Kuban State University, KubSU, Krasnodar
•  Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, IGIC, Russian Academy of Sciences , Moscow

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The beginning of the official activity of the IAL IEMRP is the January 2011 while collaboration of the partners occurs since 1994. This collaboration was made within several European (INTAS) and numerous bilateral projects.

The activity of the IAL IEMRP is aimed at the generation of knowledge needed for the enhancement of ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) and the optimization of the conditions of their use in different applications. It is known that these applications are based on the permselective properties of IEMs conditioned by their structure at the nanometer scale. The ability to control the membrane structure and the deep understanding of interfacial phenomena and transport properties act a fundamental role in the development of novel membranes. On the other hand, physico-chemical conditions of operation (electric and hydrodynamic) are also very important, hence they are in the field of interest of the French-Russian laboratory as well.

In the joint research program, four general axes are established:

1) Structure-properties» relations and impact on the trans-membrane transfer;

2) Role of the surface properties in overall membrane behavior;

3) Interfacial phenomena at the ion-exchange material/solution boundary;

4) Confrontation of mathematical modeling and experimental research.

High attention is paid to the development of theoretical mathematical models, following the well-known quote of Kurt Lewin: “There is nothing more practical than a good theory”. In addition to joint scientific research, educational and organizational works are within the scope of the laboratory activity.

There are four teams in the structure of IAL IEMRP: two ones from the French side, European Membrane Institute (EMI) CNRS-University Montpellier 2-High National School of Chemistry, Montpellier, and Institute of Chemistry and Materials-CNRS-University Paris-Est (ICMPE), Paris; and two ones from the Russian side: Kuban State University (KubSU), Krasnodar, and Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry (IGIC) of RAS, Moscow. The director of IAL IEMRP is Professor Gerald Pourcelly, the Russian co-director is Professor Victor Nikonenko.

Up to now, the main achievements of the laboratory are:

• 10 validated international collaboration projects (PICS, INTAS, PECO-CEI, PECO-NEI)

• 52 joint papers in international journals (Thomson data base)

• 3 book chapters

• 54 international communications

• 5 Ph-D (two on-going ones)

• 13 common organizations of conferences (mainly in Tuapse)

In Russia the collaboration is supported by Russian Foundation of Basic Research. There are 4 on-going projects and 1 project (M. Urtenov) recently submitted:

- A. Yaroslavtsev (IGIC): Effect of inorganic nanoparticles immobilized in nanopores on the transfer properties of organic ion-exchange membranes

- V. Nikonenko (KubSU): «Structure-properties» relationships for ion-exchange membranes; the effect of membrane nanostructure on ion and water transport

- V. Zabolotsky (KubSU): Effect of ion-exchange membrane surface heterogeneity on its electrochemical behavior

- N. Pismenskaya (KubSU): Ampholyte transfer in electrodialysis processing of dilute solutions

- M. Urtenov (KubSU): Electroconvective mechanism of overlimiting transfer in membrane systems: mathematical modeling and experiment

A very appreciated support is provided by the European Project Marie Curie FP7 IRSES People 2010 (2011-2015) COTRAPHEN: “Coupled ion and volume transfer phenomena in heterogeneous systems: Experiment and applications in clean energy, micro-analysis and water treatment”. Its Coordinator is Prof Andriy Yaroshchuk (Catalunia University, Barcelona). EMI (Montpelier), ICMPE (Paris) and KubSU (Krasnodar) are involved in. Every year 5-6 young researchers participate in exchange among Barcelona, Montpellier, Paris and Krasnodar. Activity of IAL IEMRP is growing out of the framework of French-Russian collaboration. In addition to Barcelona (a master student from the Catalunia University, Mònica Reig, is staying now at KubSU for a 2-month traineeship), Laval University, Quebec, Canada, is a new partner of this cooperation. Serguei Mikhaylin, the PhD student at this university makes his traineeship at KubSU. On April, 8, 2013, a meeting of a Steering Committee, organized by the CNRS of France was held in order to overview the activity of the IAL IEMRP. The activity of all teams was highly appreciated, and, in whole, this International Associated Laboratory was assessed as the best one over 27 on-going IAL supported by the Institute of Chemistry of CNRS, France.