ChBE Seminar Series - Polymers in Energy Storage Devices: Structure and Ion Transport
Speaker: Jennifer Schaefer, ChBE Asst Professor, University of Notre Dame
Title: Polymers in Energy Storage Devices: Structure and Ion Transport
Plastics have long been utilized as separators and structural components in electrochemical energy storage devices. Modern research focuses on employing polymers as more active battery components within electrodes and electrolytes. This seminar will explore two such scenarios where polymer design aims to influence ion transport with the ultimate goal of enhancing performance. The conductivity of traditional solvent-free, single-ion conducting polymer electrolytes is known to be low due to low rates of ion pair dissociation as well as the coupling between matrix mobility and ion dynamics. Here we design non-solvating ionomers with the explicit goal of understanding ion transport in ionic aggregates. We show that conductivity in these ionomers is a strong function of bound anion type. In addition, polymer coatings on sulfur cathodes are investigated. We show that steric, electrostatic, and dielectric mechanisms all play a role in polysulfide exclusion, and that these mechanisms can be discriminated with careful experiment design.
Jennifer L. Schaefer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Schaefer received M.Eng. and B.Ch.E. degrees in chemical engineering and a B.S. in chemistry from Widener University in 2008. She completed a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University in January 2014. She then held an NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship in the Materials Science and Engineering Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology until moving to Notre Dame in July 2015. Her research group studies ion transport, interfacial phenomena, and applied polymer materials in electrochemical and electroactive devices.