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Diffusion-bonded CNT carpets for fundamental CDI studies

  • R. Enright (a1) (a2), R. Mitchell (a1), H. Mutha (a1), C. Lv (a1) (a3), M. Christiansen (a1), C. V. Thompson (a1) and E. N. Wang (a1)...

Abstract

Uncertainty about future energy and water supplies suggests a pressing need to develop efficient technologies for water desalination. Capacitive deionization (CDI), a method that captures ions in the electrical double layer (EDL) of an electrochemical capacitor, is a promising technology that can potentially fulfill those requirements. Similar to supercapacitors, ideal CDI electrodes should have a large electrolyte-accessible specific surface area available for ion adsorption with rapid charging/discharging characteristics. Unlike supercapacitors, CDI electrodes are required to operate in aqueous electrolytes with low ionic concentrations in a non-linear charging regime. To explore this practically and theoretically important regime, we developed robust, electrochemically-compatible carbon nanotube (CNT) carpet electrodes that posses a well-defined and uniform pore structure that is more readily analyzed in comparison to the random and multi-scale pore structure of typical carbon electrodes. The fabricated electrodes were characterized using cyclic voltammetry and potentiostatic charging in aqueous NaCl solutions (n o = 20 - 90 mM) using a three electrode setup. Examination of the CV and potentiostatically-measured capacitances were consistent with EDL behavior dictated by the Stern layer. However, some deviations from the expected behavior were observed with increasing salt concentration during potentiostatic testing.

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