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Open AccessArticle

Flexible Electrode Based on MWCNT Embedded in a Cross-Linked Acrylamide/Alginate Blend: Conductivity vs. Stretching

Department of Chemistry, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
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Polymers 2020, 12(1), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010181
Received: 23 December 2019 / Revised: 5 January 2020 / Accepted: 6 January 2020 / Published: 9 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon-Based Polymer Nanocomposites for High-Performance Applications)
A polyacrylamide-alginate hydrogel electrolyte, blended with Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNT) as an electronically conductive fraction, allows for the creation of a flexible, durable, and resilient electrode. The MWCNT content is correlated with mechanical characteristics such as stretch modulus, tensile resistance, and electrical conductivity. The mechanical analysis demonstrates tensile strength that is comparable to similar hydrogels reported in the literature, with increasing strength for MWCNT-embedded hydrogels. The impedance spectroscopy reveals that the total resistance of electrodes decreases with increasing MWCNT content upon elongation and that bending and twisting do not obstruct their conductivity. The MWCNT-inserted hydrogels show mixed ionic and electronic conductivities, both within a range of 1–4 × 10−2 S cm−1 in a steady state. In addition, the thermal stability of these materials increases with incrementing MWCNT content. This observation agrees with long-term charge-discharge cycling that shows enhanced electrochemical durability of the MWCNT-hydrogel hybrid when compared to pure hydrogel electrolyte. The hydrogel-carbon films demonstrate an increased interfacial double-layer current at a high MWCNT content (giving an area-specific capacitance of ~30 mF cm−2 at 2.79 wt.% of MWCNT), which makes them promising candidates as printable and flexible electrodes for lightweight energy storage applications. The maximum content of MWCNT within the polymer electrolyte was estimated at 2.79 wt.%, giving a very elastic polymer electrode with good electrical characteristics. View Full-Text
Keywords: flexible electrode; cross-linked acrylamide/alginate; carbon nanotubes; tensile strength; impedance spectroscopy flexible electrode; cross-linked acrylamide/alginate; carbon nanotubes; tensile strength; impedance spectroscopy
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Thibodeau, J.; Ignaszak, A. Flexible Electrode Based on MWCNT Embedded in a Cross-Linked Acrylamide/Alginate Blend: Conductivity vs. Stretching. Polymers 2020, 12, 181.

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