Graphene oxide-polybenzimidazolium nanocomposite anion exchange membranes for electrodialysis

Levente Cseri, Joseph Baugh, Adetunji Alabi, Ahmed AlHajaj, Linda Zou, Robert A.W. Dryfe, Peter M. Budd*, Gyorgy Szekely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Mechanically robust and highly permselective anion exchange membranes (AEMs) were prepared based on a graphene oxide (GO) and polybenzimidazolium nanocomposite. GO was modified via diazonium chemistry for better dispersibility and used to fabricate unsupported, nanocomposite, dense, flat sheet AEMs with different GO loadings. A fabrication route using post-casting methylation was developed to avoid GO aggregation induced by the anion exchange polymer. The even GO distribution in the membranes was mapped by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS). Tensile testing and nanoindentation showed that the AEMs had great mechanical strength indicated by their high ultimate tensile strength and hardness. Furthermore, the AEMs exhibited high ion exchange capacity (1.7-2.1 mmol g−1), good to exceptional permselectivity (up to 0.99) and relatively low area resistance (down to 2.9 Ω cm2). A trade-off between good selectivity and low resistance was investigated for membranes with low GO loadings (0.25-2.5%). The GO nanocomposite AEMs demonstrated excellent potential for electrodialysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24728-24739
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number48
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr Patrick Altmaier (PCCell GmbH, Germany) for the electrodialysis measurements, to Ms Hai Anh Le Phuong (School of Materials, The University of Manchester) for AFM measurements, to Mr Pawin Iamprasertkun and Mr Wisit Hirunpinyopas for their help with electrochemical measurements, and to Dr Jonathan Fellowes (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester) for the EPMA measurements. The authors acknowledge the support from Masdar Institute–Khalifa University of Science and Technology and The University of Manchester through the seed fund of the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Center (SMG2016-000001).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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