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Concept: Polyvinylidene fluoride


Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) ultrafiltration membranes were investigated for the first time in vanadium redox flow battery (VFB) applications. Surprisingly, PVDF ultrafiltration membranes with hydrophobic pore walls and relatively large pore sizes of several tens of nanometers proved able to separate vanadium ions and protons efficiently, thus being suitable as a VFB separator. The ion selectivity of this new type of VFB membrane could be tuned readily by controlling the membrane morphology via changes in the composition of the membrane casting solution, and the casting thickness. The results showed that the PVDF membranes offered good performances and excellent stability in VFB applications, where it could, performance-wise, truly substitute Nafion in VFB applications, but at a much lower cost.

Concepts: Electron, Hydrogen, Chemistry, Atom, Rechargeable battery, Polyvinylidene fluoride, Vanadium redox battery, Vanadium


We have elucidated a cost effective fabrication technique to produce superhydrophobic polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF/DMF/candle soot particle and PVDF/DMF/camphor soot particle composite) porous materials. The water repellent dry composite was formed by the interaction of non-solvent (methanol) into PVDF/carbon soot particles suspension in N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF). It is seen that longer quenching time effectively changes the surface morphology of dry composites. The nano broccoli like hierarchical microstructure with micro or nano scaled roughen surface was obtained for PVDF/DMF/camphor soot particle, which reveals water contact angle of 172° with roll off angle of 2°. However, composite coating of PVDF/DMF/candle soot particle shows nano cauliflower like hierarchical, which illustrates water contact angle of 169° with roll off angle of 3°. To elucidate the enhancement of water repellent property of PVDF composites, we further divulge the evolution mechanism of nano cauliflower and nano broccoli structure. In order to evaluate the water contact angle of PVDF composites, surface diffusion of water inside the pores is investigated. Furthermore, the addition of small amount of carbon soot particles in composite not only provides the crystallization of PVDF, but also leads to dramatical amendment of surface morphology which increases the surface texture and roughness for superhydrophobicity.

Concepts: Water, Carbon, Materials science, Composite material, Angle, Polyvinylidene fluoride, Soot, Pykrete


A surface coating that simultaneously suppressed Li dendrite growth and polysulfide shuttling on a lithium anode was successfully developed using a polymer blend composed of Nafion® and polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF). This hierarchically nanostructured composite coating efficiently alleviated the swelling and dissolution problems of cation-selective Nafion® in the electrolyte and provided sufficient mechanical strength to accommodate large volumetric variations in the Li anode during charge-discharge cycles. The Nafion®/PVDF-coated Li anode exhibited substantially enhanced rate performance and cyclability as well as improved Coulombic efficiency for Li-S prototype batteries with a high-S-content cathode.

Concepts: Battery, Electrolysis, Polyvinylidene fluoride


A robust nanogenerator based on poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PtBA)-grafted polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) copolymers via dielectric constant control through an atom-transfer radical polymerization technique, which can markedly increase the output power, is demonstrated. The copolymer is mainly composed of α phases with enhanced dipole moments due to the π-bonding and polar characteristics of the ester functional groups in the PtBA, resulting in the increase of dielectric constant values by approximately twice, supported by Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements. This increase in the dielectric constant significantly increased the density of the charges that can be accumulated on the copolymer during physical contact. The nanogenerator generates output signals of 105 V and 25 μA/cm(2), a 20-fold enhancement in output power, compared to pristine PVDF-based nanogenerator after tuning the surface potential using a poling method. The markedly enhanced output performance is quite stable and reliable in harsh mechanical environments due to the high flexibility of the films. On the basis of these results, a much faster charging characteristic is demonstrated in this study.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Polymer chemistry, Control theory, Scanning probe microscopy, Polyvinylidene fluoride, Dielectric, Electric and magnetic fields in matter, Kelvin probe force microscope


Continued emphasis on development of thermal cooling systems is being placed that can cycle low grade heat. Examples include solar powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and data storage servers. The power efficiency of solar module degrades at elevated temperature, thereby, necessitating the need for heat extraction system. Similarly, data centres in wireless computing system are facing increasing efficiency challenges due to high power consumption associated with managing the waste heat. We provide breakthrough in addressing these problems by developing thermo-magneto-electric generator (TMEG) arrays, composed of soft magnet and piezoelectric polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) cantilever. TMEG can serve dual role of extracting the waste heat and converting it into useable electricity. Near room temperature second-order magnetic phase transition in soft magnetic material, gadolinium, was employed to obtain mechanical vibrations on the PVDF cantilever under small thermal gradient. TMEGs were shown to achieve high vibration frequency at small temperature gradients, thereby, demonstrating effective heat transfer.

Concepts: Magnet, Temperature, Heat, Heat transfer, Vibration, Polyvinylidene fluoride, Heat transfer coefficient, Unmanned aerial vehicle


Fluoroform (CF(3)H), a large-volume by-product of the manufacture of Teflon, refrigerants, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), fire-extinguishing agents, and foams, is a potent and stable greenhouse gas that has found little practical use despite the growing importance of trifluoromethyl (CF3) functionality in more structurally elaborate pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and materials. Direct nucleophilic trifluoromethylation using CF(3)H has been a challenge. Here, we report on a direct trifluoromethylation protocol using close to stoichiometric amounts of CF(3)H in common organic solvents such as tetrahydrofuran (THF), diethyl ether, and toluene. The methodology is widely applicable to a variety of silicon, boron, and sulfur-based electrophiles, as well as carbon-based electrophiles.

Concepts: Oxygen, Benzene, Ether, Solvent, Toluene, Tetrahydrofuran, Diethyl ether, Polyvinylidene fluoride


A microfluidic chip with a controllable and integrated piezoelectric pump was proposed and demonstrated, where the pump was designed as a micro-actuator based on polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) organic piezoelectric film. In this case, the pump should integrate with the microfluidics device very well into one chip. The flow rate can be precisely controlled in the range of 0-300 µl/min for water by tuning the Vpp and frequency of Alternating Current (AC) voltage applied on the diaphragm. To analyze the relationship between the flow rate and the deflection of diaphragm, the deformations of diaphragm at different voltages were researched. The displacement of diaphragm was defined as 17.2 µm at the voltages of 3.5 kV, 5 Hz when the pump chamber was full of water. We have used the integrated microfluidic chip with two pumps for droplet generation to demonstrate its great potential for application in droplet-based microfluidic chip.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Surface tension, Direct current, Alternating current, Microfluidics, Root mean square, Voltage, Polyvinylidene fluoride


Electrical and/or electromechanical stimulation has been shown to play a significant role in regenerating various functionalities in soft tissues, such as tendons, muscles, and nerves. In this work, we investigate the piezoelectric polymer polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as a potential substrate for wireless neuronal differentiation. Piezoelectric PVDF enables generation of electrical charges on its surface upon acoustic stimulation, inducing neuritogenesis of PC12 cells. We demonstrate that the effect of pure piezoelectric stimulation on neurite generation in PC12 cells is comparable to the ones induced by neuronal growth factor (NGF). In inhibitor experiments, our results indicate that dynamic stimulation of PVDF by ultrasonic (US) waves activates calcium channels, thus inducing the generation of neurites via a cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent pathway. This mechanism is independent from the well-studied NGF induced mitogen-activated protein kinases/extracellular signal-regulated kinases (MAPK/ERK) pathway. The use of US, in combination with piezoelectric polymers, is advantageous since focused power transmission can occur deep into biological tissues, which holds great promise for the development of non-invasive neuroregenerative devices.

Concepts: DNA, Electric charge, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Cell culture, Tissues, Piezoelectricity, Polyvinylidene fluoride


A fully rollable nanocomposite-based nanogenerator (NCG) is developed by integrating a lead-free piezoelectric hybrid layer with a type of nanofiber-supported silver nanowire (AgNW) network electrodes. The thin-film nanocomposite is composed of electroactive polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) polymer matrix and compositionally modified potassium sodium niobate-based nanoparticles (NPs) with a high piezoelectric coefficient (d33) of 53 pm/V, which is revealed by the piezoresponse force microscopy measurements. Under periodical agitation at a compressive force of 50 N and 1 Hz, the NCG can steadily render high electric output up to an open-circuit voltage of 18 V and a short-circuit current of 2.6 μA. Of particular importance is the decent rollability of the NCG, as indicated by the negligible decay in the electric output after it being repeatedly rolled around a gel pen for 200 cycles. Besides, the biocompatible NCG can potentially be used to scavenge biomechanical energy from low-frequency human motions, as demonstrated by the scenarios of walking and elbow joint movement. These results rationally expand the feasibility of the developed NCG towards applications in light weight, diminutive, and multifunctional rollable or wearable electronic devices.

Concepts: Electricity, Electronics, Piezoelectricity, Polyvinylidene fluoride


In the new century, electrospun nanofibrous webs are widely employed in various applications due to their specific surface area and porous structure with narrow pore size. The mechanical properties have a major influence on the applications of nanofiber webs. Lamination technology is an important method for improving the mechanical strength of nanofiber webs. In this study, the influence of laminating pressure on the properties of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) nanofibers/laminate was investigated. Heat-press lamination was carried out at three different pressures, and the surface morphologies of the multilayer nanofibrous membranes were observed under an optical microscope. In addition, air permeability, water filtration, and contact angle experiments were performed to examine the effect of laminating pressure on the breathability, water permeability and surface wettability of multilayer nanofibrous membranes. A bursting strength test was developed and applied to measure the maximum bursting pressure of the nanofibers from the laminated surface. A water filtration test was performed using a cross-flow unit. Based on the results of the tests, the optimum laminating pressure was determined for both PAN and PVDF multilayer nanofibrous membranes to prepare suitable microfilters for liquid filtration.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Wetting, Surface tension, Polyvinylidene fluoride, Specific surface area, Surface chemistry, Laminate, Porous media