Spectroscopic investigations of the fouling process on Nafion membranes in vanadium redox flow batteries

M. Vijayakumar, M. S. Bhuvaneswari, P. Nachimuthu, Birgit Schwenzer, Soowhan Kim, Zhenguo Yang, Jun Liu, Gordon L. Graff, S. Thevuthasan, Jianzhi Hu

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    Abstract

    The Nafion membrane is a critical component in redox flow batteries, which are widely investigated for grid-scale energy storage. However, there is very limited understanding of the fundamental properties of the membrane materials in the working environment relevant to redox flow batteries. This paper presents results of the analysis of the Nafion-117 membrane used in a vanadium redox flow battery by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy. The XPS study reveals the chemical identity and environment of vanadium cations accumulated at the surface. On the other hand, the 17O NMR measurement explores the nature of the diffused vanadium cations inside the bulk part of the Nafion and shows the chemical bonding of cations and the host membrane. The 19F NMR shows that the basic Nafion structure is not altered by the vanadium cations diffused inside. Based on these spectroscopic studies, the chemical identity and environment of the diffused vanadium cations in the Nafion membrane are discussed. This study reveals important information on the origin of performance degradation of the membrane materials in vanadium redox flow batteries and provides clues on how to improve the chemistry and properties of the energy storage devices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-334
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Membrane Science
    Volume366
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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    Keywords

    • Nafion membrane
    • O & F NMR and UV/Vis spectroscopy
    • Vanadium redox flow battery
    • XPS

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Materials Science(all)
    • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
    • Filtration and Separation

    Cite this

    Vijayakumar, M., Bhuvaneswari, M. S., Nachimuthu, P., Schwenzer, B., Kim, S., Yang, Z., Liu, J., Graff, G. L., Thevuthasan, S., & Hu, J. (2011). Spectroscopic investigations of the fouling process on Nafion membranes in vanadium redox flow batteries. Journal of Membrane Science, 366(1-2), 325-334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2010.10.018