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Issue 25, 2021, Issue in Progress
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Understanding the ionic activity and conductivity value differences between random copolymer electrolytes and block copolymer electrolytes of the same chemistry

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Abstract

Herein, a systematic study where the macromolecular architectures of poly(styrene-block-2-vinyl pyridine) block copolymer electrolytes (BCE) are varied and their activity coefficients and ionic conductivities are compared and rationalized versus a random copolymer electrolyte (RCE) of the same repeat unit chemistry. By performing quartz crystal microbalance, ion-sorption, and ionic conductivity measurements of the thin film copolymer electrolytes, it is found that the RCE has higher ionic activity coefficients. This observation is ascribed to the fact that the ionic groups in the RCE are more spaced out, reducing the overall chain charge density. However, the ionic conductivity of the BCE is 50% higher and 17% higher after the conductivity is normalized by their ion exchange capacity values on a volumetric basis. This is attributed to the presence of percolated pathways in the BCE. To complement the experimental findings, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations showed that the BCE has larger water cluster sizes, rotational dynamics, and diffusion coefficients, which are contributing factors to the higher ionic conductivity of the BCE variant. The findings herein motivate the design of new polymer electrolyte chemistries that exploit the advantages of both RCEs and BCEs.

Graphical abstract: Understanding the ionic activity and conductivity value differences between random copolymer electrolytes and block copolymer electrolytes of the same chemistry

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Article information


Submitted
30 Mar 2021
Accepted
15 Apr 2021
First published
22 Apr 2021

This article is Open Access

RSC Adv., 2021,11, 15078-15084
Article type
Paper

Understanding the ionic activity and conductivity value differences between random copolymer electrolytes and block copolymer electrolytes of the same chemistry

M. V. Ramos-Garcés, K. Li, Q. Lei, D. Bhattacharya, S. Kole, Q. Zhang, J. Strzalka, P. P. Angelopoulou, G. Sakellariou, R. Kumar and C. G. Arges, RSC Adv., 2021, 11, 15078
DOI: 10.1039/D1RA02519H

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