Membrane-spacer assembly for flow-electrode capacitive deionization
Abstract Flow-electrode capacitive deionization (FCDI) is a desalination process designed to overcome the limited desalination capacity of conventional CDI systems due to their fixed electrodes. Such a FCDI cell system is comprised of a current collector, freestanding ion-exchange membrane (IEM), gasket, and spacer for flowing saline water. To simplify the cell system, in this study we combined the membrane and spacer into a single unit, by coating the IEM on a porous ceramic structure that acts as the spacer. The combination of membrane with the porous structure avoids the use of costly freestanding IEM. Furthermore, the FCDI system can be readily scaled up by simply inserting the IEM-coated porous structures in between the channels for flow electrodes. However, coating the IEM on such porous ceramic structures can cause a sudden drop in the treatment capacity, if the coated IEM penetrates the ceramic pores and prevents these pores from acting as saline flow channels. To address this issue, we blocked the larger microscale pores on the outer surface with SiO 2 and polymeric multilayers. Thus, the IEM is coated only onto the top surface of the porous structure, while the internal pores remain empty to function as water channels. Highlights We combined the membrane and spacer into a single unit, by coating the ion-exchange membrane on a porous ceramic structure. To prevent the penetration of ion-exchange membrane in a porous structure, SiO 2 particles and polymer multilayer were coated. Ion-exchange membrane was coated only onto the top surface of porous structure, while the internal pores were maintained.
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