The present invention provides methods and apparatus for the formation of heterogeneous ion-exchange membranes by prescribed in-line compounding and extrusion of a polymeric binder and heat sensitive ion-exchange resin. The ion-exchange resin is incorporated, at a late process stage, into the melted matrix polymer at relatively low temperature and residence time prior to transfer to a die head for extrusion. In the presently preferred embodiment, the in-line compounding apparatus comprises a twin-screw compounding extruder, for effecting late stage kneading and mixing of ion-exchange resin and optional additives to the polymer melt, prior to compression to transfer the blended polymer melt to a die head for extrusion. Accordingly, the final properties of the resultant heterogeneous ion-exchange membrane are enhanced as the blended polymer melt material is not exposed to excessive heat and shear history. Resultant heterogeneous ion-exchange membranes and apparatus for treatment of fluid streams utilizing such membranes are also provided.
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