Special Issue "Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 6787

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Francesco Lufrano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-ITAE Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “N. Giordano” Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, 98126 Messina, Italy
Interests: polymers; polymer nanocomposites; polymeric membranes; nano carbon materials; metal oxides and hybrid materials; polymer electrolytes; batteries; fuel cells; supercapacitors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Antonino S. Aricò
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-ITAE Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “N. Giordano” Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, 98126 Messina, Italy
Interests: polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells; polymer electolyte membrane electrolysis; anion exchange membranes; photoelectrolysis; batteries
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Vincenzo Baglio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, the development of advanced functional polymers and polymer electrolytes has received great consideration because of their potential application in several electrochemical power generation, storage, and energy conversion systems. Polymer electrolytes, functional polymers, poly(ionic liquid)s, and gel electrolytes are ion conductive polymeric materials that are widely investigated and employed in all solid-state batteries, Li-ion/Na-ion/ K-ion batteries, polymer electrolyte fuel cells, electrolyzers, and in other power applications, such as supercapacitors, solar cells, photo-electrochemical, and electrochromic devices. Generally, polymer electrolytes are membranes composed of ion-conducting salt incorporated in a polymer matrix with high molecular weight. Additionally, polymeric electrolytes and advanced functional polymers can be based on ion-containing polymers or ionomers composed from negatively charged functional groups (e.g., –SO3H, –PO3H2, –COOH) or positively charged anion-exchange membranes containing different anionic functional groups. These ionomers possess multiphase structures containing both hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions, in which ion carriers move through the polymeric film to compensate the fixed functional sites in the polymer and to allow the ionic conduction of the membrane. Further, the development of self-healing materials possessing unique functionalities to be used in various types of batteries (e.g., Li-ion Batteries, Na-ion Bs, Li-S batteries) and supercapacitors is of very great scientific interest in energy storage applications.

This Special Issue will focus on the collection of the latest developments in functional polymers for energy-related electrochemical devices, as well as on the development of various polymer electrolytes including all recent approaches used to enhance their performance characteristics and technological applications.

Dr. Francesco Lufrano
Dr. Antonino Aricò
Dr. Vincenzo Baglio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Polymer electrolyte membranes
  • Poly(ionic liquid)s (PIL)s
  • Proton conducting polymer membranes
  • Anionic exchange membranes
  • Cationic exchange membranes
  • Self-healing polymer electrolytes
  • Inorganic solid electrolytes
  • Polymer gel-based membranes
  • Electrolyzers
  • Lithium-ion/sodium-ion/potassium-ion batteries
  • Fuel cells
  • Metal–air batteries
  • Redox-flow batteries
  • Supercapacitors
  • Dye-sensitized solar cells

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Interactions in Electrodeposited Poly-3,4-Ethylenedioxythiophene—Tungsten Oxide Composite Films Studied with Spectroelectrochemistry
Polymers 2021, 13(10), 1630; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13101630 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 781
Abstract
Cyclic voltammograms and optical absorption spectra of PEDOT/WO3 composite films were recorded in order to identify possible interactions and modes of improved performance of the composite as compared to the single materials. Changes in the shape of redox peaks related to the [...] Read more.
Cyclic voltammograms and optical absorption spectra of PEDOT/WO3 composite films were recorded in order to identify possible interactions and modes of improved performance of the composite as compared to the single materials. Changes in the shape of redox peaks related to the W(VI)/W(V) couple in the CVs of WO3 and the composite PEDOT/WO3 films indicate electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged tungsten oxide species and the positively charged conducting polymer. Smaller peak separation suggests a more reversible redox process due to the presence of the conducting polymer matrix, accelerating electron transfer between tungsten ions. Electronic absorption spectra of the materials were analyzed with respect to changes of the shapes of the spectra and characteristic band positions. There are no noticeable changes in the position of the electronic absorption bands of the main chromophores in the electronic spectra of the composite film. Obviously, the interactions accelerating the redox performance do not show up in the optical spectra. This suggests that the existing electrostatic interactions in the composite do not significantly change the opto-electronic properties of components of the composite but resulted in the redistribution of fractions of polaron and bipolaron forms in the polymer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Article
Nanosponge-Based Composite Gel Polymer Electrolyte for Safer Li-O2 Batteries
Polymers 2021, 13(10), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13101625 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 1619
Abstract
Li-O2 batteries represent a promising rechargeable battery candidate to answer the energy challenges our world is facing, thanks to their ultrahigh theoretical energy density. However, the poor cycling stability of the Li-O2 system and, overall, important safety issues due to the [...] Read more.
Li-O2 batteries represent a promising rechargeable battery candidate to answer the energy challenges our world is facing, thanks to their ultrahigh theoretical energy density. However, the poor cycling stability of the Li-O2 system and, overall, important safety issues due to the formation of Li dendrites, combined with the use of organic liquid electrolytes and O2 cross-over, inhibit their practical applications. As a solution to these various issues, we propose a composite gel polymer electrolyte consisting of a highly cross-linked polymer matrix, containing a dextrin-based nanosponge and activated with a liquid electrolyte. The polymer matrix, easily obtained by thermally activated one pot free radical polymerization in bulk, allows to limit dendrite nucleation and growth thanks to its cross-linked structure. At the same time, the nanosponge limits the O2 cross-over and avoids the formation of crystalline domains in the polymer matrix, which, combined with the liquid electrolyte, allows a good ionic conductivity at room temperature. Such a composite gel polymer electrolyte, tested in a cell containing Li metal as anode and a simple commercial gas diffusion layer, without any catalyst, as cathode demonstrates a full capacity of 5.05 mAh cm−2 as well as improved reversibility upon cycling, compared to a cell containing liquid electrolyte. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Article
New Insights into Properties of Methanol Transport in Sulfonated Polysulfone Composite Membranes for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Polymers 2021, 13(9), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13091386 - 24 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Methanol crossover through a polymer electrolyte membrane has numerous negative effects on direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) because it decreases the cell voltage due to a mixed potential (occurrence of both oxygen reduction and methanol oxidation reactions) at the cathode, lowers the overall [...] Read more.
Methanol crossover through a polymer electrolyte membrane has numerous negative effects on direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) because it decreases the cell voltage due to a mixed potential (occurrence of both oxygen reduction and methanol oxidation reactions) at the cathode, lowers the overall fuel utilization and contributes to long-term membrane degradation. In this work, an investigation of methanol transport properties of composite membranes based on sulfonated polysulfone (sPSf) and modified silica filler is carried out using the PFG-NMR technique, mainly focusing on high methanol concentration (i.e., 5 M). The influence of methanol crossover on the performance of DMFCs equipped with low-cost sPSf-based membranes operating with 5 M methanol solution at the anode is studied, with particular emphasis on the composite membrane approach. Using a surface-modified-silica filler into composite membranes based on sPSf allows reducing methanol cross-over of 50% compared with the pristine membrane, making it a good candidate to be used as polymer electrolyte for high energy DMFCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Article
Structural, Electrical and Electrochemical Properties of Glycerolized Biopolymers Based on Chitosan (CS): Methylcellulose (MC) for Energy Storage Application
Polymers 2021, 13(8), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13081183 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
In this work, a pair of biopolymer materials has been used to prepare high ion-conducting electrolytes for energy storage application (ESA). The chitosan:methylcellulose (CS:MC) blend was selected as a host for the ammonium thiocyanate NH4SCN dopant salt. Three different concentrations of [...] Read more.
In this work, a pair of biopolymer materials has been used to prepare high ion-conducting electrolytes for energy storage application (ESA). The chitosan:methylcellulose (CS:MC) blend was selected as a host for the ammonium thiocyanate NH4SCN dopant salt. Three different concentrations of glycerol was successfully incorporated as a plasticizer into the CS–MC–NH4SCN electrolyte system. The structural, electrical, and ion transport properties were investigated. The highest conductivity of 2.29 × 10−4 S cm−1 is recorded for the electrolyte incorporated 42 wt.% of plasticizer. The complexation and interaction of polymer electrolyte components are studied using the FTIR spectra. The deconvolution (DVN) of FTIR peaks as a sensitive method was used to calculate ion transport parameters. The percentage of free ions is found to influence the transport parameters of number density (n), ionic mobility (µ), and diffusion coefficient (D). All electrolytes in this work obey the non-Debye behavior. The highest conductivity electrolyte exhibits the dominancy of ions, where the ionic transference number, tion value of (0.976) is near to infinity with a voltage of breakdown of 2.11 V. The fabricated electrochemical double-layer capacitor (EDLC) achieves the highest specific capacitance, Cs of 98.08 F/g at 10 mV/s by using the cyclic voltammetry (CV) technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Article
Oligoether/Zwitterion Diblock Copolymers: Synthesis and Application as Cathode-Coating Material for Li Batteries
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050800 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
Poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) has been investigated as an ion-conductive matrix for several decades due to its excellent properties. However, further improvements are needed to enable a PEO-based ion-conductive matrix for practical applications. In order to develop novel solid polymer electrolytes based on [...] Read more.
Poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) has been investigated as an ion-conductive matrix for several decades due to its excellent properties. However, further improvements are needed to enable a PEO-based ion-conductive matrix for practical applications. In order to develop novel solid polymer electrolytes based on zwitterions, we synthesized diblock copolymers (PPEGMA-b-SPBs) with oligoether and zwitterionic side-chains and evaluated their physico-chemical properties. PPEGMA-b-SPBs with various unit ratios were synthesized by RAFT polymerization. PPEGMA-b-SPBs with/without LiTFSA exhibited two distinct glass transition temperatures regardless of the unit ratio of PEGMA and SPB. AFM observations clearly revealed phase-separated structures. The ionic conductivity of PPEGMA-b-SPBs increased even at a high salt concentrations such as [EO]:[Li] = 6:1 and was over 10−5 S cm−1 at 25 °C. This tendency is unusual in a PEO matrix. The oxidation stability of PPEGMA-b-SPBs was about 5.0 V vs. Li/Li+, which is a higher value than that of PEO. The improvement of the electrochemical properties is attributed to the introduction of the SPB block into the block copolymers. PPEGMA-b-SPBs were evaluated as cathode-coating materials for Li batteries. The discharge capacity and coulombic efficiency of the cells employing the cathode (LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 (NMC)) coated with the block copolymers were much higher than those of the cell employing the pristine cathode at the 50th cycle in the cut-off voltage range of 3.0–4.6 V. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Review

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Review
Development and Progression of Polymer Electrolytes for Batteries: Influence of Structure and Chemistry
Polymers 2021, 13(23), 4127; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13234127 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 850
Abstract
Polymer electrolytes continue to offer the opportunity for safer, high-performing next-generation battery technology. The benefits of a polymeric electrolyte system lie in its ease of processing and flexibility, while ion transport and mechanical strength have been highlighted for improvement. This report discusses how [...] Read more.
Polymer electrolytes continue to offer the opportunity for safer, high-performing next-generation battery technology. The benefits of a polymeric electrolyte system lie in its ease of processing and flexibility, while ion transport and mechanical strength have been highlighted for improvement. This report discusses how factors, specifically the chemistry and structure of the polymers, have driven the progression of these materials from the early days of PEO. The introduction of ionic polymers has led to advances in ionic conductivity while the use of block copolymers has also increased the mechanical properties and provided more flexibility in solid polymer electrolyte development. The combination of these two, ionic block copolymer materials, are still in their early stages but offer exciting possibilities for the future of this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Polymers for Energy Applications)
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