Researchers Develop New Material to Increase the Charge Storage Capacity

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Researchers develop a new material that can increase the charge storage capacity by weaving two polymers together, according to a study conducted on March 20, 2018.

This new material was developed by weaving two polymers together. Initially, polymer networks were developed for a different application and later, researchers realized that this material has the potential to be used for energy storage. Batteries such as lithium-ion batteries have good energy storage capacity, however, the chemical reactions that are responsible for the charging and discharging process in the batteries are very slow. This limits the amount of power that has to be delivered. Also, batteries will have to be replaced, as they get degraded over time.

Supercapacitor is an alternate energy storage device, which charges rapidly and generates power. Since these supercapacitors does not require binders, it cannot be used in emerging go-anywhere electronics. A polymer-based material that was being used for another project was found to be a better alternative by Wang, a graduate student. Conducting polymers such as poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) have advantages over the conventional carbon-based supercapacitors. However, ions cannot penetrate into the polymers more than a couple of nanometers deep. Wang says that the fragileness of nanostructures are a major drawback.

Then, a more robust material was developed by Wang and his colleague. This was done by weaving together a conducting polymer with an ion-storage polymer. By stitching the two polymers together, a candy cane-like geometry was created. One polymer was a white stripe and another one was a red stripe. PEDOT polymer conducted electricity and poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) stored ions. When tested, these candy cane super capacitors had nearly double the specific capacitance when compared to the conventional PEDOT-based supercapacitors. Stoyan Smoukov, Ph.D said, “In future experiments, we will be substituting polyaniline for PEDOT to increase the capacitance.” The development of lighter batteries and its applications in wearables is expected to increase the growth of wearable sensor market, as elaborated in the wearable sensor market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

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