American Chemical Society
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Tuning the Interfacial Electrical Field of Bipolar Membranes with Temperature and Electrolyte Concentration for Enhanced Water Dissociation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-15, 14:22 authored by Huanlei Zhang, Dongbo Cheng, Chengxiang Xiang, Meng Lin
A coupled experimental and numerical study was performed for a fundamental understanding of the impact of operating conditions, i.e., temperature and electrolyte concentration, as well as interfacial abruptness, on the bipolar membrane (BPM) performance. A comprehensive multiphysics-based model was developed to optimize the operation condition and interfacial properties of BPM, and the model was used to guide the design and engineering of high-performing BPMs. The origin of the enhanced BPM performance at a high temperature was identified, which was attributed to the intrinsic reaction rate enhancement as well as the increase in electrolyte ionic conductivity. The experimentally demonstrated current density–voltage characteristics of BPMs clearly exhibited three distinctive regions of operation: ion-crossover region, water dissociation region, and water-limiting region, which agreed well with the multiphysics simulation results. In addition, the model revealed that a sharper interfacial abruptness led to improved BPM performance due to the enhanced interfacial electric field at the water dissociation region. The decrease of the electrolyte concentration, which increased the dielectric constant of the electrolyte, enhanced the interfacial electric field, leading to improved electrochemical performances. The present study offers an in-depth perspective to understand the species transport as well as water dissociation mechanism under various operation conditions and membrane designs, providing the optimal operation conditions and membrane designs for maximizing the BPM performance at high current densities.