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A history of the SCI Ion Exchange (IEX) Conferences

IEX plant

10 Feb 2015

The first SCI Ion Exchange (IEX) conference was held in London in April 1954. This was largely a UK based meeting with 16 of the 20 papers being given by UK speakers. The proceedings were published in 1955 and reprinted in 1958 by the SCI under the title Ion Exchange and its Applications.

There was a gap of 15 years before the second conference held in July 1969 at Imperial College London. This was truly international with delegates from Europe, Australia, Canada, India, Russia, South Africa and USA.  The scope of the meeting was also widened with 60 papers being presented. The proceedings were published with edited discussions by the SCI in 1970 as Ion Exchange in the Process Industries. One of the main features was a number of papers proposing new designs for contactors for continuous ion exchange and applications in industry.

There was another gap of 7 years to the next meeting in July 1976 entitled: Theory and Practice in Ion Exchange. This was the first meeting held at Churchill College, Cambridge which would be the conference venue until 2008. A total of 46 papers were presented and published as camera ready copy by the SCI with a separate volume of discussions. The subject matter was narrower than previous meetings and aimed at bridging the gap between academic and industrial interests.  Probably the most interesting paper was from Hamish Small (Dow) on the design and application of pellicular resins for ion chromatography, one of the first publications on the subject.

There was a further gap of 8 years before the next meeting at Churchill College in 1984 published by Ellis Horwood, Chichester under the title: Ion Exchange Technology. The number of papers presented rose considerably to 75 with significant contributions from Israel, South Africa and the first paper from Japan.  At this meeting Dr T R E Kressman (UK) became the first recipient of the SCI Ion Exchange Award.

Following this meeting the 4 year cycle of Cambridge conferences began with IEX 1988 held under the title: Ion Exchange for Industry.  The proceedings published by Ellis Horwood consisted of 61 papers. As well as delegates from the usual European countries there was a significant representation from Japan. Drs F G Helfferich (USA) and R Kunin (USA) were presented with the Ion Exchange Award.

The proceedings of the IEX 1992 were published by Elsevier Applied Science under the title: Ion Exchange Advances.  Fewer papers (54) were presented than in 1988 attributed to world-wide industrial recession restricting both development of new technology and applications, and the ability of scientists to attend meetings.  The Ion Exchange Award was presented to Drs T V Arden (UK); F Martinola (Germany) and D Weiss (Australia).

The proceedings of IEX 1996 were published by the Royal Society of Chemistry for the SCI under the title: Ion Exchange Developments and Applications. A total of 70 papers were presented with a growing interest in environmental applications. Ion Exchange Award was presented to Professor M Streat (UK).

The proceedings of IEX 2000 were published under the title Ion Exchange at the Millennium by Imperial College Press for the SCI. This publication contains an interesting article: ‘A Historical Perspective of Ion Exchange Technology’ by Dr Kunin but overall there was an overall significant drop in the number of papers to 46. Ion Exchange Awards were presented to Professor V S Soldatov (Belarus) and Dr Sallie A Fisher (USA).

IEX 2004 introduced some significant changes to the format of the meeting with the introduction of parallel sessions to reduce the length of the meeting to address declining attendance. The proceedings Ion Exchange Technology for Today and Tomorrow were published by the SCI and included 47 papers. Another change was the inclusion of a plenary lecture given by Professor Streat on ‘Renewable adsorbents for the removal of trace contaminants from water and effluents’. Ion Exchange Awards were presented to: M Sadler (UK) and Professors W Höll (Germany) and A Sengupta (USA).

There were several new developments at IEX 2008: the introduction of a 2-day Technical Training Course on industrial water treatment in response to a perceived loss of in-house skills following industrial restructuring and the meeting was held in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. The proceedings: Recent Advances in Ion Exchange Theory and Practice published by the SCI includes the two plenary lectures given by Professor Höll, ‘Ion exchange for water treatment: challenges, solutions and developments’ and Richard Harries, ‘Future application of ion exchange to electric power generation systems’. At this meeting Professors G Foutch (USA), J-L Cortina (Spain) and K Blaxall (UK) were presented with the Ion Exchange Award.

Queens’ College, was chosen for IEX 2012, which was held in September to avoid possible problems with the Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The format of the proceedings was changed from a hard copy of the final papers to a hard copy of extended abstracts with the final papers available electronically. This format had the advantages of extended deadlines, no page limitation and availability of colour.  Because of the changes authors were given the opportunity to publish elsewhere after the meeting. Two of the sessions were dedicated to Professor Wolfgang Höll (Water Treatment) and David Naden (Hydrometallurgy) both leading supporters of IEX who had died since IEX 2008. A total of 80 papers were presented and, in addition to a Plenary paper by Professor Sengupta, ‘From the Donnan membrane principle to sustainable ion exchange processes and materials: a tribute to Fred G Donnan’, there was a Keynote paper on ‘European Regulations for Ion Exchangers and Adsorbents used in Food and Potable Water Production’ presented by members of Cefic a group of resin manufacturers and suppliers  The training course, so successful in 2008, was repeated and two new courses on Ion Exchange Plant Design for Water Treatment (2 day) and Bioprocessing (1 day). Ion Exchange Awards were presented to: Dr Zaganiaris (France), Professors Nalan Kabay (Turkey) and Yu Komatsu (Japan).

IEX 2016 will take place in July at Robinson College, Cambridge. There will be techni9cal course on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 July, with the three day conference starting on Wednesday 6 July. There will be oral and poster presentations during the conference. We are currently inviting papers on all aspects of ion exchange. All papers must be submitted by October 2015. Further details on where to submit your paper are available via the link below.

M Cox
Separation Science and Technology Group

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