Cross-linked composite membranes of sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) (SPEEK) with a chitosan content up to 50 wt%, were prepared by solution cast technique and ultraviolet (UV) curing. A mixture of sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone)-chitosan (SPEEK-CS) membranes was prepared by dissolving SPEEK in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and chitosan (CS) in acetic acid. The homogen formed was later irradiated with an UV source to induce crosslinking. The membranes were then characterized by evaluating infrared spectra, proton conductivity, water uptake, degree of swelling and ion exchange capacity (IEC). The Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) study revealed considerable interaction between the sulfonic acid functions of SPEEK and amino groups of chitosan. Proton conductivity decreases with increasing of chitosan content from 8.51 x 10-3 to 2.85 x 10-7 S cm-1. Meanwhile, water uptake decreases with increasing of chitosan content from 52% to 29% and IEC 0.188 to 0.018 mequi. However, the swelling properties unchanged as the chitosan content increases.
Keywords: Chitosan (CS), SPEEK, SPEEK/CS, UV curing, Crosslinking.