Surface Reaction, Solvent Inhomogeneity, and Ion Transport in Electric Double Layers: Predictions from a Classical Density Functional Theory

Tuesday, October 13, 2015: 09:10
101-C (Phoenix Convention Center)
C. Lian (University of California,Riverside) and J. Wu (University of California,Riverside)
Electric double layers (EDLs) are formed at the interface of a charged fluid in contact with an electrified surface or an electrode leading to drastic changes in the fluid structure and local thermodynamic properties. Whereas conventional theories of EDLs are often concerned with the local inhomogeneity in terms of ionic distributions near a planar surface, the simplistic model is insufficient to capture many important properties relevant to emerging electrochemical processes for energy storage and conversion. In this talk, we present a few recent applications of the classical density functional theory (CDFT) that account for not only ionic excluded volume effects and electrostatic correlations ignored in conventional theories of EDLs but also electrode geometry and pore size distributions, the local solvent and dielectric inhomogeneity, surface reactions, and hydrodynamic effects. The CDFT calculations will be illustrated with practical examples for unusual ion transport in nanopores, optimization of capacitive energy extraction processes, design of nanostructured electrodes for flow supercapacitors and pseudo-capacitors. The theoretical predictions are validated with experiment results and provide insights for novel electrochemical behavior that are not captured in conventional EDL theories. 

Acknowledgements: This research is sponsored by the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures, and Transport (FIRST) Center and the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FG02-06ER46296). The numerical calculations were performed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).