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Issue 6, 2017
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High performance electrospun bipolar membrane with a 3D junction

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A new type of bipolar membrane (BPM) with a high interfacial area 3D water splitting junction has been fabricated and tested. BPMs were made by single and dual fiber electrospinning, followed by dimethylformamide vapor exposure and hot-pressing, with sulfonated poly(ether ether ketone) as the cation-exchange polymer and quaternized poly(phenylene oxide) as the anion-exchange material. Al(OH)3 nanoparticles were added to the junction to facilitate water splitting. The resultant trilayer membrane had an inner bipolar junction (interpenetrating anion-exchange and cation-exchange polymer nanofibers) ∼10 μm in thickness with dense/neat ionomer outer layers. The extended bipolar reaction zone enabled water splitting at ultra-high current densities (up to 1.1 A cm−2) with no evidence of membrane dehydration or blistering, which is common for a planar junction BPM. The novel electrospun membrane morphology offers significant benefits for electrodialysis separations, electrochemical hydrogen generation, and self-humidifying fuel cells, where high operating current densities and membrane stability are required.

Graphical abstract: High performance electrospun bipolar membrane with a 3D junction

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The article was received on 05 Feb 2017, accepted on 24 Apr 2017 and first published on 03 May 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EE00345E
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2017,10, 1435-1442
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    High performance electrospun bipolar membrane with a 3D junction

    C. Shen, R. Wycisk and P. N. Pintauro, Energy Environ. Sci., 2017, 10, 1435
    DOI: 10.1039/C7EE00345E

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