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Radiation-grafted cation-exchange membranes: an initial ex situ feasibility study into their potential use in reverse electrodialysis

Abstract

A variety of radiation-grafted cation-exchange membranes (RG-CEM) were synthesised, using a high-dose rate electron-beam peroxidation method, for an initial evaluation of their applicability to reverse electrodialysis cells (RED, a type of salinity gradient “blue” energy). The RG-CEMs were adequately conductive (to Na+ cations) but without the incorporation of crosslinking co-monomers, the permselectivities were too low (≤ 80 %). In contrast, when ETFE-based RG-CEMs were synthesised with incorporation of 10 % mol. bis(vinylphenyl)ethane (BVPE) crosslinking co-monomer into the styrene-containing grafting mixture, permselectivities of > 90 % were obtained without a significant decrease in conductivity. The use of BVPE in the grafting mixture also resulted in the RG-CEMs exhibiting enhanced ion-exchange capacities without any increase in water uptakes (cf. uncrosslinked variants). In contrast, the use of less flexible divinylbenzene crosslinker led to prohibitively large decreases in RG-CEM conductivity. This study highlights that the future development of both radiation-grafted cation-exchange and anion-exchange membranes for RED (and other electrodialysis applications) should utilise flexible crosslinkers (such as BVPE) to ensure adequate permselectivities.

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Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 27 Nov 2018, accepted on 14 May 2019 and first published on 14 May 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SE00579F
Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2019, Accepted Manuscript

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    Radiation-grafted cation-exchange membranes: an initial ex situ feasibility study into their potential use in reverse electrodialysis

    T. Willson, I. Hamerton, J. R. Varcoe and R. Bance-Souahli, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8SE00579F

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