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Title: Crystalline polymer and small molecule electrolytes
Author: Ainsworth, David A.
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2010
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The research presented in this thesis includes a detailed investigation into factors influencing ionic conductivity in the crystalline polymer electrolyte PEO₆:LiPF₆. It has previously been shown that preparing PEO₆:LiPF₆ with PEO modified with larger –OC₂H₅ end groups increases ionic conductivity by one order of magnitude [¹],primarily due to disruption of the crystal structure caused by the inclusion of the larger end groups. In this study it is shown that by reducing PEO molecular weight in crystalline PEO₆:LiPF₆ ionic conductivity is also increased. This was attributed to an increasing concentration of polymer chain end regions upon lowering molecular weight resulting in the creation of more defects, as well as possible increases in crystallite size resulting in longer continuous pathways for ion transport. Similar results were observed using both polydispersed and monodispersed PEO to prepare complexes. In addition, it is demonstrated here that ionic conductivity in crystalline polymerelectrolytes is not confined to PEO₆:LiXF₆ (X=P, As, Sb)[²][³] type materials. The structures and ionic conductivity data are reported for a series of new crystalline polymer complexes: the alkali metal electrolytes. They are composed of low molecular weight PEO and different alkali metal hexafluoro salts (Na⁺, K⁺ and Rb⁺), and include the best conductor poly(ethylene oxide)₈:NaAsF₆ discovered to date [⁴], with a conductivity 1.5 orders of magnitude higher than poly(ethylene oxide)₆:LiAsF₆. A new class of solid ion conductor is reported: the crystalline small-molecule electrolytes. Such materials consist of lithium salts dissolved in low molecular weight glyme molecules [CH₃O(CH₂CH₂O)[subscript(n)]CH₃, n=1-12], forming crystalline complexes [⁵][⁶]. These materials are soft solids unlike ceramic electrolytes and unlike polymer electrolytes they are highly crystalline, are of low molecular weight and have no polydispersity. By varying the number of repeat units in the glyme molecule, many complexes may be prepared with a wide variety of structures. Here, ionic conductivity and cation transference number (t₊) data for several such complexes is presented [⁷][⁸][⁹].These complexes have appreciable ionic conductivities for crystalline complexes and their t₊ values vary markedly depending on the glyme molecule utilized. The differences in t₊ values can be directly attributed to differences in their crystal structures. [¹] Staunton, E., Andreev, Y.G. & Bruce, P.G. Factors influencing the conductivity of crystalline polymer electrolytes. Faraday Discussions 134, 143-156 (2007). [²] Gadjourova, Z., Andreev, Y.G., Tunstall, D.P. & Bruce, P.G. Ionic conductivity in crystalline polymer electrolytes. Nature 412, 6846 (2001). [³] Stoeva, Z., Martin-Litas, I., Staunton, I., Andreev, Y.G. & Bruce, B.G. Ionic Conductivity in the Crystalline Polymer Electrolytes PEO₆:LiXF₆, X = P, As, Sb. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 4619-4626(2003). [⁴] Zhang, C., Gamble, S., Ainsworth, D., Slawin, A.M.Z., Andreev, Y.G. & Bruce, P.G. Alkali metal crystalline polymer electrolytes. Nature Materials 8, 580-584 (2009). [⁵] Henderson, W.A., Brooks, N.R., Brennessel, W.W. & Young Jr, V.G. Triglyme-Li⁺ Cation Solvate Structures: Models for Amorphous Concentrated Liquid and Polymer Electrolytes (I). Chem. Mater. 15, 4679-4684 (2003). [⁶] Henderson, W.A., Brooks, N.R. & Young Jr, V.G. Tetraglyme-Li⁺ Cation Solvate Structures: Models for Amorphous Concentrated Liquid and Polymer Electrolytes (II). Chem. Mater. 15, 4685-4690 (2003). [⁷] Zhang, C., Andreev, Y.G. & Bruce, P.G. Crystalline small-molecule electrolytes. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 46, 2848-2850 (2007). [⁸] Zhang, C., Ainsworth, D., Andreev, Y.G. & Bruce, P.G. Ionic Conductivity in the Solid Glyme Complexes [CH₃O(CH₂CH₂O)[subscript(n)]CH₃]:LiAsF₆ (n = 3,4). J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 8700- 8701 (2007). [⁹] Zhang, C., Lilley, S.J., Ainsworth, D., Staunton, E., Andreev, Y.G., Slawin, A.M.Z. & Bruce, P.G. Structure and Conductivity of Small-Molecule Electrolytes [CH₃O(CH₂CH₂O)[subscript(n)]CH₃]:LiAsF₆ (n = 8-12). Chem. Mater. 20, 4039-4044 (2008).
Supervisor: Bruce, Peter G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Crystalline polymer electrolytes ; Lithium-ion batteries ; Poly (ethylene oxide) ; Glymes