Development of capacitive deionisation electrodes: optimization of fabrication methods and composition
Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is a technology used to desalinate water where a potential is applied to an electrode made of carbonaceous materials resulting in ion adsorption. Processes and materials for the production of electrodes to be applied in Membrane Capacitive Deionisation processes were investigated. The optimal electrode composition and synthesis approached was determined through analysis of the salt removal capacity and the rate at which the electrodes absorb and desorb ions. To determine the conductivity of these electrodes, the four point probe method was used. Contact angle measurements were performed to determine the hydrophilic nature of the electrodes. N2 adsorption was done in order to determine the surface area of carbonaceous materials as well as electrodes fabricated in this study. Scanning electron microscopy was utilised to investigate the morphology. Electrodes were produced with a range of research variables; (i) three different methods; slurry infiltration by calendaring, infiltration ink dropwise and spray-coating, (ii) electrodes with two different active material/binder ratios and a constant conductive additive ratio were produced in order to find the optimum, (iii) two different commercially available activated carbon materials were used in this study (YP50F and YP80F), (iv) two different commercially available electrode substrates were utilised (JNT45 and SGDL), (v) different slurry mixing times were investigated showing the importance of mixing, and (vi) samples were treated at three different temperatures to establish the optimal drying conditions. Through optimization of the various parameters, the maximum adsorption capacity of the electrode was incrementally increased by 36 %, from 16 mg·g-1 at the start of the thesis to 25 mg·g-1 at the end of the study.