Preparation, Characterization And Ionic Conductivity Studies On Certain Fast Ionic Conductors
Borgohain, Madhurjya Modhur
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Fast ionic conductors, i.e. materials in which charge transport mainly occurs through the motion of ions, are an important class of materials with immense scope for industrial applications. There are different classes of fast ionic conductors e.g. polymer electrolytes, glasses, oxide ion conductors etc. and they find applications such as solid electrolytes in batteries, in fuel cells and in electro active sensors. There are mixed conducting materials as well which have both ions and electrons as conducting species that are used as electrode materials. Specifically, polymer electrolytes 1−3 have been in use in lithium polymer batteries, which have much more advantages compared to other secondary batteries. Polymer electrolyte membranes have been in use in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC). The membranes act as proton conductors and allow the protons produced from the fuel (methanol) to pass through. Oxide ion conductors are used in high temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and they conduct via oxygen ion vacancies. Fuel cells are rapidly replacing the internal combustion engines, because they are more energy efficient and environment friendly. The present thesis is concerned with the preparation, characterization and conductivity studies on the following fast ionic conductors: (MPEG)xLiClO4, (MPEG)xLiCF3SO3 where (MPEG) is methoxy poly(ethylene glycol), the hydrotalcite [Mg0.66Al0.33(OH)2][(CO3)0.17.mH2O] and the nanocomposite SPE, (PEG)46 LiClO4 with dispersed nanoparticles of hydrotalcite. We also present our investigations of spin probe electron spin resonance (SPESR) as a possible technique to determine the glass transition temperature (Tg) of polymer electrolytes where the conventional technique of Tg determination, namely, differential scanning calorimetry, (DSC), is not useful due to the high crystallinity of the polymers. In the following we summarize the main contents of the thesis. In Chapter 1 we provide a brief introduction to the phenomenon of fast ionic conduction. A description of the different experimental techniques used as well as the relevant theories is also given in this chapter. In most solid polymer electrolytes (SPE), the usability is limited by the low value of the ionic conductivity. A number of different routes to enhance the electrical, thermal and mechanical properties of these materials is presently under investigation. One such route to enhance the ionic conductivity in polymer electrolytes is by irradiating the polymer electrolyte with gamma rays, electron beam, ion beams etc. In Chapter 2, we describe our work on the effect of electron beam (e-beam) irradiation on the solid polymer electrolytes (MPEG)xLiClO4 and (MPEG)xLiCF3SO3. The polymer used is methoxy poly(ethylene glycol) or poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether with a molecular weight 2000. Salts used are LiClO4 and LiCF3SO3. ’x’ in the subscript is a measure of the salt concentration; it is the ratio of the number of ether oxygens in the polymer chain to that of the Li+ ion. ’x’ values chosen are 100, 46, 30 and 16. Nearly one order of magnitude increase in the conductivity is observed for samples (MPEG)100LiClO4 and (MPEG)16LiCF3SO3 on irradiation. It was found that the increase in the net ionic conductivity is a function of both the irradiation dose and the salt concentration. The enhanced ionic conductivity remains constant for ∼ 100 hrs, which signifies a possible near permanent change in the polymer electrolyte system due to irradiation. The samples were also characterized using DSC and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). DSC results could be correlated with conductivity findings, giving low Tg values for samples having high conductivity. It was also found that there is a small increase in the crystalline fraction of the samples on irradiation, which agrees with earlier reports on samples irradiated with low dosage. FTIR results are suggestive of decreased cross linking as the reason for increased ionic conductivity. However, this aspect needs a further confirmatory look before the findings can be termed conclusive. In Chapter 3, we describe the studies we have carried out on Li -doped hydrotalcite. We report the details of preparation and characterization of hydrotalcite as well as NMR and ionic conductivity measurements on both doped (with Li+ ions) and undoped hydrotalcite. Hydrotalcite was prepared by co-precipitation method and the composition of hydrotalcite was chosen as [Mg0.66Al0.33(OH)2][(CO3)0.17.mH2O]. Samples were prepared with salt (LiClO4) concentration 5 %, 10 %, 15 %, 20 % and 25 %. It was found that the highest ionic conductivity occurs for the sample with 20 % doping. 7Li NMR plots for all the samples clearly show an overlap of a Gaussian and a Lorentzian lineshape. The Gaussian line is because of the presence of a less mobile fraction of the 7Li+ ions and the Lorentzian line is because of the presence of a more mobile fraction of 7Li+ ions. The highest ionic conductivity was found for the salt concentration 20 % and from the room temperature 7Li NMR studies we found that for this particular concentration, the mobile fraction of the 7Li ion is also maximum. Without the salt doping, the conductivity of the sample was too small to be measured. Temperature variation of both 1H and 7Li NMR was also done, to compare the ionic conductivities from NMR. Another method to obtain enhanced properties in polymer electrolytes is by forming ’nanocomposite’ polymer electrolytes. Nanocomposites are formed by dispersing nanoparticles of certain materials in the polymer electrolyte matrix. Till now, nanoparticles used are mostly oxides of metals, e.g. Al2O3, TiO2, MgO, SiO2 etc and clays like montmorillonite, liponite, hydrotalcite etc. Chapter 4 describes the preparation and characterization of the nanocomposite polymer electrolyte (PEG)46LiClO4 formed with hydrotalcite nanoparticles. The polymer used is PEG, poly(ethylene glycol) of molecular weight 2000, and salt used is LiClO4. The salt concentration is selected so as to give the highest ionic conductivity for the solid polymer electrolyte. Hydrotalcite belongs to a class of materials called LDH, layered double hydroxides. The composition selected is [Mg0.66Al0.33(OH)2][(CO3)0.17 .mH2O], since this is the most stable composition. These materials are easy to prepare in the nano size and are being used in a number of applications. These are characterized by the presence of layers of positively charged double hydroxides separated by layers of anions and water molecules. The water molecules give stability to the structure. Nanoparticles of hydrotalcite were prepared in the laboratory itself. XRD data of hydrotalcite conﬁrm the crystal structure. TEM data show the particle size to be ∼ 50 nm. The polymer electrolyte (PEG)46LiClO4 was doped with these nanoparticles and the doping levels are 1.8 %, 2.1 %, 2.7 %, 3.6 % and 4.5 % by weight. Impedance spectroscopy was used to ﬁnd the ionic conductivity. We have found that the sample with a doping of 3.6 % by weight gives the highest ionic conductivity and the increase in ionic conductivity is nearly one order of magnitude. DSC was used for thermal characterization of these nanocomposites. The glass transition temperatures, Tg , found from DSC measurements corroborates the ionic conductivity data, giving the lowest Tg for the sample with highest conductivity. Temperature variation of the ionic conductivity shows Arrhenius behavior. 7Li NMR was done on the pristine SPE (PEG)46LiClO4 and the nanocomposite of (PEG)46LiClO4 with 3.6 % filler. The ionic conductivity was also estimated from the temperature variation of 7Li NMR line widths. Studies on the DSC endotherms of the nanocomposites give the fractional crystallinity of the samples. From these studies it can be concluded that the variation in ionic conductivity can be attributed to the change in fractional crystallinity; the nanocomposite polymer electrolyte having highest ionic conductivity, i.e. the NCPE with filler concentration of 3.6 % also has the lowest fractional crystallinity. Additionally, a possible increase in the segmental motion inferred from a reduction in the glass transition temperature coupled with a lowering of the activation energy may also contribute to the increased ionic conductivity in the nanocomposite polymer electrolyte. Glass transition temperature Tg has a very important role in studying the dynamics of polymer electrolytes. In Chapter 5, we explore the possibility of using spin probe electron spin resonance (SPESR) as a tool to study the glass transition temperature of polymer electrolytes. When the temperature of the polymer is increased across the glass transition, the viscosity of the sample decreases. This corresponds to a transition from a slow tumbling regime with τc = 10−6 s to a fast tumbling regime with τc = 10−9 s where τc is the correlation time for the probe dynamics. Spin probe ESR can be used to probe this transition in polymers. We have used 4-hydroxy tempo (TEMPOL) as the spin probe which is dispersed in the nanocomposite polymer electrolyte based on (PEG)46LiClO4 and hydrotalcite. Below and across the glass transition, this nitroxide probe exhibits a powder pattern showing both Zeeman (g) and hyperﬁne (hf) interaction anisotropy. When the frequency of the dynamics increases such that the jump frequency f is of the same order of magnitude as the anisotropy of the hf interaction, i.e., ∼ 108 Hz, the anisotropy of the interactions averages out and a spectrum of reduced splitting and increased symmetry in the line shape is observed. This splitting corresponds to the nonvanishing isotropic value of the hyperﬁne tensor and is observed at a temperature higher than but correlated with Tg. The crossover from the anisotropic to isotropic spectrum is reflected in a sharp reduction in the separation between the two outermost components of the ESR spectrum, which corresponds to twice the value of the z-principal component of the nitrogen hyperfine tensor, 2Azz, from ∼75 G to ∼ 35 G. In our study, we have varied the concentration of the nano-fillers. The Tg for all the samples were estimated from the measurement of T50G and the known correlation between 4 T50G and Tg, where T50G is the temperature at which the extrema separation (2Azz) of the ESR spectra becomes 50 Gauss. The values obtained from this method are compared with the values found from DSC done on the same samples. Within experimental error, these two techniques give reasonably close values. Tg’s were also estimated by a cross over in the correlation time (τc) vs temperature plot. The τc values were calculated using a spectral simulation program. We conclude that spin probe ESR can be an alternative to the DSC technique for polymers with high fraction of crystallinity, for which DSC often does not give any glass transition signature. In Appendix I, ionic conductivity studies on quenched and gamma irradiated polymer electrolytes (PEG)46LiClO4 and (MPEG)16LiClO4 is done. It is observed that, (i) the samples quenched to 77 K after melting show enhancement of ionic conductivity by a factor of 3 & 4; (ii) on irradiation, the ionic conductivity decreases for a dose of 5 kGy and subsequently, keeps on increasing for higher doses of 10 kGy and 15 kGy. In Appendix II, the BASIC language program (eq-res.bas) used for impedance data analysis is given.
- Physics (PHY) 
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