Electrodes composed of activated carbon cloth (ACC) coated with zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods are compared with plain ACC electrodes, with respect to their desalination efficiency of a 17 mM NaCl solution at different applied potentials. Polarization of the ZnO nanorods increased the penetration depth and strength of the electric field between the electrodes, leading to an increase in the capacitance and charge efficiency at reduced input charge ratios. Uniform distribution of the electric field lines between two electrodes coated with ZnO nanorods led to faster ion adsorption rates, reduced the electrode saturation time, and increased the average desalination efficiency by ∼45% for all applied potentials. The electrodes were characterized for active surface area, capacitance from cyclic voltammetry, theoretical assessment of surface area utilization, and the magnitude of electric field force acting on an ion of unit charge for each potential.
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