This eco-friendly technology includes (1) nanodispersion of ionomers with various ion-conductive functional groups, (2) manufacturing methods and (3) their applications. The ionomer nanoparticle dispersion can be manufactured by nano-dispersing (via modified supercritical methods) a variety of perfluorinated or hydrocarbon ionomers without any physico-chemical degradations in water-alcohol mixtures from their solid forms (e.g. film, sheet, powder, pellet and others).
This technology overcomes the limitations (e.g. concentration, solvent compositions, high price, difficult to tune chemical architectures) of ionomer dispersions in the aqueous states provided by existing commercial manufacturers. It provides a relatively cheap route of manufacturing well-distributed particle dispersions from ionomers in the solid states.
Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages
- Eco-friendly due to the usage of water-alcohol mixtures as distribution solvents
- Particle sizes are controllable in nanometer levels through the combination of chemical features of ionomers and alcohols (e.g. chemical structures and hydrophilicity), solvent composition, and processing histories
- Starting materials can be perfluorinated and hydrocarbon ionomers with ion-conductive functional groups (e.g. sulfonic acid, carboxylic acid, phosphoric acid, and amine derivatives) and in various forms (e.g. proton, metallic and organic salts)
- Enhanced chemical, electrochemical and mechanical resistance of the resulting products (e.g. membranes and binders) via morphological rearrangements of the nano-sized ionomer materials
This technology can be applied in high-performance electrode applications without any negative electrochemical impacts. It can also be used for preparing chemically durable reinforced membranes, which are composed of the ionomer nanodispersions and porous support films, without any defects by controlling their wettability to the support films.
Examples of potential applications include:
- Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and electrode binder for PEM fuel cells
- PEM and electrode binder for PEM water electrolysis
- PEM for saline water electrolysis (or chloro-alkali electrolysis)
- PEM for vanadium redox flow battery
- Solid polymer electrolyte for Li secondary battery
- Cationic and anionic polymer electrolyte for Reverse Electrodialysis (RED)
- Polymer electrolytes (e.g. bipolar membranes) for Capacitive Deionization (CD)
- Other energy manufacturing and saving processes including water treatments field (e.g. precious metal recovery) where ion-conducting polymers can be adapted