Effects of pore structure on the high-performance capacitive deionization using chemically activated carbon nanofibers
Capacitive deionization (CDI) electrodes were constructed from activated carbon fibers prepared using electrospinning and chemical activation. The CDI efficiencies of these electrodes were studied as a function of their specific surface areas, pore volumes and pore sizes via salt ion adsorption. The specific surface areas increased approximately 90 fold and the pore volume also increased approximately 26 fold with the use of greater amounts of the chemical activation agent. There was a relative increase in the mesopore fraction with higher porosity. A NaCl solution was passed through a prepared CDI system, and the salt removal efficiency of the CDI system was determined by the separation of the Na+ and Cl? ions toward the anode and cathode. The CDI efficiency increased with greater specific surface areas and pore volumes. In addition, the efficiency per unit pore volume increased with a reduction in the micropore fraction, resulting in the suppressed overlapping effect. In conclusion, the obtained improvements in CDI efficiency were mainly attributed to mesopores, but the micropores also played an important role in the high-performance CDI under conditions of high applied potential and high ion concentrations.