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Structural Dynamics of Strongly Segregated Block Copolymer Electrolytes

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-03-23, 20:04 authored by Onyekachi Oparaji, Suresh Narayanan, Alec Sandy, Subramanian Ramakrishnan, Daniel Hallinan
Polymer electrolytes are promising materials for high energy density rechargeable batteries. However, they have low ion transport rates and gradually lose electrode adhesion during cycling. These effects are dependent on polymer structure and dynamics. This motivates an investigation of diblock copolymer electrolyte dynamics. Structural and stress relaxations have been measured with X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) and rheology, respectively, as a function of salt concentration and temperature. The polymer electrolyte studied in this work is a mixture of poly­(styrene-b-ethylene oxide), SEO, and lithium bistrifluoromethane­sulfonimide (LiTFSI). Results from XPCS experiments showed hyperdiffusive motion for various lithium salt concentrations and at varying temperatures, which is indicative of soft glassy materials. This behavior is attributed to cooperative dynamics. The decay time was a weak, nonmonotonic function of salt concentration and decreased with increasing temperature, in an Arrhenius fashion. In contrast, the shear modulus decreased with increasing salt concentration and increasing temperature. The entanglement relaxation from rheological measurements followed Vogel–Fulcher–Tammann behavior. The structural decay time was slower than the entanglement relaxation time at temperatures above the glass transition temperature, but they were approximately equal at Tg regardless of salt concentration. This may indicate a fundamental connection between cooperative structural motion and polymer chain motion in this material.