An Experimental Study on PEO Polymer Electrolyte Based All-Solid-State Supercapacitor

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Supercapacitors are one of the most important electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices, however low ionic conductivity of solid state polymer electrolytes and the poor accessibility of the ions to the active sites in the porous electrode will cause low performance for all-solid-state supercapacitors and will limit their application.

The objective of the dissertation is to improve the performance of all-solid-state supercapactor by improving electrolyte conductivity and solving accessibility problem of the ions to the active sites.

The low ionic conductivity (10-8 S/cm) of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) limits its application as an electrolyte. Since PEO is a semicrystal polymer and the ion conduction take place mainly in the amorphous regions of the PEO/Lithium salt complex, improvements in the percentage of amorphous phase in PEO or increasing the charge carrier concentration and mobility could increase the ionic conductivity of PEO electrolyte.

Hot pressing along with the additions of different lithium salts, inorganic fillers and plasticizers were applied to improve the ionic conductivity of PEO polymer electrolytes. Four electrode methods were used to evaluate the conductivity of PEO based polymer electrolytes.

Results show that adding certain lithium salts, inorganic fillers, and plasticizers could improve the ionic conductivity of PEO electrolytes up 10-4 S/cm. Further hot pressing treatment could improve the ionic conductivity of PEO electrolytes up to 10-3 S/cm. The conductivity improvement after hot pressing treatment is elucidated as that the spherulite crystal phase is convert into the fringed micelle crystal phase or the amorphous phase of PEO electrolytes.

PEO electrolytes were added into active carbon as a binder and an ion conductor, so as to provide electrodes with not only ion conduction, but also the accessibility of ion to the active sites of electrodes. The NaI/I2 mediator was added to improve the conductivity of PEO electrolyte and provide pseudocapacitance for all-solid-state supercapacitors. Impedance, cyclic voltammetry, and gavalnostatic charge/discharge measurements were conducted to evaluate the electrochemical performance of PEO polymer electrolytes based all-solid-state supercapacitors.

Results demonstrate that the conductivity of PEO electrolyte could be improved to 0.1 S/cm with a mediator concentration of 50wt%. A high conductivity in the PEO electrolyte with mediator is an indication of a high electron exchange rate between the mediator and mediator. The high electron exchange rates at mediator carbon interface and between mediator and mediator are essential in order to obtain a high response rate and high power. This automatically solves the accessibility problem.

With the addition of NaI/I2 mediator, the specific capacitance increased more than 30 folds, specific power increased almost 20 folds, and specific energy increased around 10 folds. Further addition of filler to the electrodes along with the mediator could double the specific capacitor and specific power of the all-solid-state supercapacitor. The stability of the corresponded supercapacitor is good within 2000 cycles.
Author: Yin, Yijing
Source: University of Miami

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