Abstract: Electrospinning is gaining popularity as a robust, scalable, and cost-effective technique for fabricating nonwoven mats of submicron-diameter polymer fibers. Although not as well studied, the technique can also be used to prepare particle/polymer fiber electrode networks with high intra- and inter-fiber porosity.
In this overview talk, the fabrication and performance of nanofiber-based membranes (anion-exchange, cation-exchange, and bipolar membranes) and nanofiber mat fuel cell and battery electrodes will be described. Dual-fiber electrospinning is used to create composite membranes with specifically targeted properties, where dissimilar polymer nanofibers are randomly co-deposited on a collector surface and where post-electrospinning steps transform the porous mat into a dense and defect-free film. The fiber mat electrode work is focused on H2/air fuel cell cathodes and silicon anodes for lithium-ion batteries. For fuel cells, supported platinum or platinum-alloy powder is electrospun with a perfluorosulfonic acid ionomer. Such cathode mats produce high power at ultralow platinum loadings. For lithium-ion batteries, a variety of different single and dual fiber mat anode morphologies have been examined with silicon and carbon nanoparticles and a polymeric binder to increase capacity and cycle life.
Bio: Peter Pintauro is the H. Eugene McBrayer Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University. His research interests are in electrochemical engineering, membrane science, organic electrochemistry, and nanofiber electrospinning.