Date of Graduation

Summer 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Interdisciplinary Studies

Research Sponsor

David Simmons

First Reader

Kevin Cavicchi

Second Reader

Bryan Vogt

Abstract

Lithium ion batteries are widely used for the energy needs of portable electronic devices. Unfortunately, current liquid organic solvents used as the electrolytic portion of the battery have low thermal stability, resulting in batteries that may combust upon failure. This flammability can be attributed to the configurational strain in cyclic organic electrolytes. Due to the lack of configurational strain in a flexible polymer chain, designing polymer electrolytes for use in lithium ion batteries may result in a safer battery due to their lower flammability in comparison to traditional liquid organic electrolytes. From the perspective of an electrolytic polymer, lowering the glass transition temperature has been shown to increase the ionic conductivity, potentially solving what previously has prevented the application of polyelectrolytes in commercial batteries. A lower glass transition temperature is a result of increased chain mobility and therefore charge mobility between adjacent chains. One way of doing this is by changing the composition of the polymer; specifically, by inserting monomers that interact unfavorably with the electrolytic monomer, the resulting sequenced polymer chain should exhibit a lower glass transition temperature due to these unfavorable interactions. By adjoining dissimilar monomers, we can lower the glass transition temperature of a polymer while retaining the bulk behavior of the electrolytic monomer. This work shows the sequence dependence on lowering the glass transition temperature of a polymer by unfavorable interactions in contrasting monomers.

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