Structural lithium ion battery electrolytes via reaction induced phase-separation†
For the realization of structural batteries, electrolytes where both higher ionic conductivity and stiffness are combined need to be developed. The present study describes the formation of a structural battery electrolyte (SBE) as a two phase system using reaction induced phase separation. A liquid electrolyte phase is combined with a stiff vinyl ester based thermoset matrix to form a SBE. The effect of monomer structure variations on the formed morphology and electrochemical and mechanical performance has been investigated. An ionic conductivity of 1.5 × 10−4 S cm−1, with a corresponding storage modulus (E′) of 750 MPa, has been obtained under ambient conditions. The SBEs have been combined with carbon fibers to form a composite lamina and evaluated as a battery half-cell. Studies on the lamina revealed that both mechanical load transfer and ion transport are allowed between the carbon fibers and the electrolyte. These results pave the way for the preparation of structural batteries using carbon fibers as electrodes.