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Stabilized SPEEK Membranes with a High Degree of Sulfonation for Enthalpy Heat Exchangers

1
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Roma, Italy
2
International Associated Laboratory (L.I.A.), Ionomer Materials for Energy, 00133 Roma, Italy
3
Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, University of Perugia, 06123 Perugia, Italy
4
Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, 06125 Perugia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2018, 8(5), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings8050190
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract

In this investigation, we explored for the first time the use of cross-linked sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone) (SPEEK) membranes in the fabrication of enthalpy heat exchangers. SPEEK is very sensitive to changes in relative humidity, especially when featuring high degrees of sulfonation (DS), though a poor mechanical stability may be observed in the latter case. Cross-linking is crucial in overcoming this issue, and here, we firstly employed the INCA method (ionomer counter-elastic pressure “nc” analysis) to assess the improvements in the mechanical properties. The cross-link was achieved following a simple thermal-assisted process that occurs directly on the performed membranes. After an initial screening, a degree of cross-link = 0.1 was selected as the better compromise between absorption of water vapor and mechanical properties. When implemented in the enthalpy heat exchanger system, these cross-linked SPEEK membranes enabled a high level of sensible heat exchange, as well as a remarkable variation in the mass (water vapor) transfer between the individual air flows. The performances resulted in being better than those for the system based on a benchmark commercially available perfluorinated Nafion membrane. View Full-Text
Keywords: HVAC; SPEEK; cross-linking; INCA method; thin membranes; high DS HVAC; SPEEK; cross-linking; INCA method; thin membranes; high DS
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Narducci, R.; Di Vona, M.L.; Marrocchi, A.; Baldinelli, G. Stabilized SPEEK Membranes with a High Degree of Sulfonation for Enthalpy Heat Exchangers. Coatings 2018, 8, 190.

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