Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1365–1376 | Cite as

Attractive forces in microporous carbon electrodes for capacitive deionization

  • P. M. Biesheuvel
  • S. Porada
  • M. Levi
  • M. Z. Bazant
Original Paper

Abstract

The recently developed modified Donnan (mD) model provides a simple and useful description of the electrical double layer in microporous carbon electrodes, suitable for incorporation in porous electrode theory. By postulating an attractive excess chemical potential for each ion in the micropores that is inversely proportional to the total ion concentration, we show that experimental data for capacitive deionization (CDI) can be accurately predicted over a wide range of applied voltages and salt concentrations. Since the ion spacing and Bjerrum length are each comparable to the micropore size (few nanometers), we postulate that the attraction results from fluctuating bare Coulomb interactions between individual ions and the metallic pore surfaces (image forces) that are not captured by mean-field theories, such as the Poisson-Boltzmann-Stern model or its mathematical limit for overlapping double layers, the Donnan model. Using reasonable estimates of the micropore permittivity and mean size (and no other fitting parameters), we propose a simple theory that predicts the attractive chemical potential inferred from experiments. As additional evidence for attractive forces, we present data for salt adsorption in uncharged microporous carbons, also predicted by the theory.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Part of this work was performed in the cooperation framework of Wetsus, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology (www.wetsus.nl). Wetsus is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the European Union Regional Development Fund, the Province of Fryslân, and the Northern Netherlands Provinces. The authors like to thank the participants of the research theme Capacitive Deionization for fruitful discussions and financial support. We thank Michiel van Soestbergen for providing unpublished theoretical results used in section “Analysis of data for adsorption of salt in uncharged carbon—measuring μatt”.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Biesheuvel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • S. Porada
    • 1
  • M. Levi
    • 4
  • M. Z. Bazant
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Wetsus, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water TechnologyLeeuwardenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid ScienceWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Environmental TechnologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  5. 5.Department of Chemical EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  6. 6.Department of MathematicsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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