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Selective Plasticization of Poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) Block in Nanostructured Polystyrene− PEO− Polystyrene Triblock Co...

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Journal of the Electrochemical Society
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The plasticization of a polymer electrolyte usually promotes its ionic conductivity but decreases its storage modulus due to the increased polymer chain flexibility. Herein, we show that such a tradeoff between the ionic conductivity and the mechanical robustness of the polymer electrolyte can be alleviated by selective plasticization of the ion-conductive block, such as poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) in a polystyrene (PS)− PEO−PS block copolymer (SEO) electrolyte using an ether type plasticizer, tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether (TEGDME). At maximum plasticizer loading, the room temperature ionic conductivity increases by up to 3 orders, whereas the storage modulus, G' reduces to half, is still on the order of 102 MPa. At above the melting temperature of the PEO block, the dynamic storage modulus, G' of the plasticized membrane surpasses its dry PS-PEO-PS counterpart. Such a phenomenon results from that, a) TEGDME co-crystallizes with PEO to promote its crystallinity and hence the storage modulus, b) TEGDME swells the amorphous PEO phase to enhance the polymer chain segmental mobility and hence ionic conductivity, and c) the PS phase remains intact from TEGDME to keep the SEO elastic.