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Anomalously high elastic modulus of a poly(ethylene oxide)-based composite electrolyte...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Energy Storage Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
431 to 442

The practical use of lithium metal anodes in solid-state batteries requires a polymer membrane with high lithium-ion conductivity, thermal/electrochemical stability, and mechanical strength. The primary challenge is to effectively decouple the ionic conductivity and mechanical strength of the polymer electrolytes. We report a remarkably facile single step synthetic strategy based on in-situ crosslinking of poly(ethylene oxide) (xPEO) in the presence of a woven glass fiber (GF). Such a simple method yields composite polymer electrolytes (CPE) of anomalously high elastic modulus up to 2.5 GPa over a broad temperature range (20 °C – 245 °C) that has never been previously documented. An unsupervised machine learning algorithm, K-mean clustering analysis, was implemented on the hyperspectral Raman mapping at the xPEO/GF interface. Using such a unique means, we show for the first time that the promoted mechanical strength originates from xPEO and GF interactions through dynamic hydrogen and ionic bonding. High ionic conductivity is achieved by the addition plasticizer (e.g. tetraglyme), where trifluoromethanesulfonate anions are tethered to the xPEO matrix and Li+ cations are favorably transported through coordination with the plasticizer. Further, stringent galvanostatic cycling tests indicates the CPE can be stably cycled for >3000 h in a Li-metal symmetric cell at a moderate temperature (nearly 1500 Coulombs/cm2 Li equivalents), outperforming most of the PEO-based electrolytes. The GF reinforced CPE reported here has multifunctional uses, such as solid electrolytes for all solid-state batteries and membranes for redox-flow batteries. Although the focus of this study is on lithium-based batteries, the results are equally promising for other alkali metal based batteries such as sodium and potassium.