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Impact of the Mechanical Properties of a Functionalized Cross-Linked Binder on the Longevity of Li–S Batteries

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journal contribution
posted on 29.05.2019, 00:00 by C. Y. Kwok, Q. Pang, A. Worku, X. Liang, M. Gauthier, L. F. Nazar
One of the very challenging aspects of Li–S battery development is the fabrication of a sulfur electrode with high areal loading using conventional Li-ion binders. Herein, we report a new multifunctional polymeric binder, synthesized by the free-radical cross-linking polymerization of [2-(acryloyloxy)­ethyl]­trimethylammonium chloride (AETMAC) and ethylene glycol diacrylate (EGDA) to form poly­(AETMAC-co-EGDA), that not only helps to confine the soluble polysulfide species but also has the desired mechanical properties to allow stable cycling of high-sulfur loading cathodes. Through a combination of spectroscopic and electrochemical studies, we elucidate the chemical interactions that inhibit polysulfide shuttling. We also show that extensive cross-linkage enables this polymeric binder to exhibit a low degree of swelling as well as high tensile modulus and toughness. These attributes are essential to maintain the architectural integrity of the sulfur cathode during extended cycling. Using this material, Li–S cells with a high-sulfur loading (6.0 mg cm–2) and a low-intermediate electrolyte/sulfur ratio (7 μL:1 mg) achieve an areal capacity of 5.4 mA h cm−2 and can be (dis)­charged for 300 cycles with stable reversible redox behavior after the initial cycles.