Multiscale Tuning of Bi- and Tri-Continuous Structures for Energy Applications

Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Prince George's Exhibit Hall D/E (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
D. J. French, P. S. Clegg, and J. H. J. Thijssen (University of Edinburgh)
We create bi- and tri-continuous structures by a variety of methods, including liquid-liquid phase separation and growing colloidal crystals. Liquid-liquid phase separation can be arrested using colloidal particles, which jam at the liquid-liquid interface. This creates a structure, called a bijel, where the two liquid phases and the particle layer are all continuous and interpenetrating. Bijels allow for an enormous surface area to volume ratio between the two liquids and have highly tunable mechanical properties. As they can also be post-processed, for example by replacing one of the liquids with a polymer, they are ideal templates for novel energy materials.

The bi- and tri-continuous structures we create are well-suited to applications such as electrodes in Li-air batteries, where the oxygen, electrons and electrolyte all require their own pathways.