In chlor-alkali industry some technologies such as mercury cell, diaphragm cell and membrane cell are used, their feed is chlorine sodium and some potassium chloride solution.
The diaphragm cell process (Griesheim cell, 1885s) and the mercury cell process (Castner-Kellner cell, 1892s) were both introduced in the late 1800s.
The membrane prevents the migration of chloride ions from the anode compartment to the cathode compartment; therefore, the caustic soda solution produced does not contain salt as in the diaphragm cell process.
Membrane cell is highly resistant and durable and the possibility of rupture is lower, while diaphragm cell life time is sometimes lower than one year.
Before 1970stwo main processes were being used in order to produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide (except melt saline electrolysis) which included mercury and diaphragm cells. These two processes had commercial importance for about 100 years.
The 10 to 12% sodium hydroxide product from a conventional percolating diaphragm cell is contaminated by similar concentrations of non-electrolyzed sodium chloride.
LaSueur's contributions are one example of Canadian contributions to chemical technology, and still form the basis of operation of all percolating diaphragm cells operated today.