The results of new studies have shown that the chemical structure of organic radical polymers makes it possible to create efficient metal-free batteries on their basis..
The main obstacle on the way The manufacture of energy storage devices that do not contain metal is to find the necessary material that has sufficient electrochemical activity, that is, it must be able to store and exchange electrons. Chemists at the University of Texas A&M believe that the solution can be organic radical polymers, which are very stable and reactive.
This class of materials has one unpaired electron on the radical group, allowing rapid charge transfer during redox reactions. Although this was previously known, until a recent study there was no precise a description of the mechanism by which electrons and ions pass through the polymer. Analyzes of the studied samples revealed several unexpected results..
It was previously believed that when charging-discharging polymer only anions are involved, but research has shown that at positively charged ions can also take part in this process. In addition, it was found that the behavior and movement of ions is more dependent on the electrolyte than on the polymer itself. A deeper understanding of the underlying processes allows scientists to study their interactions in more detail.
The collection of reliable data on the mechanisms of redox reactions was partly hampered by the scale and speed of their course. Therefore, to make incredibly accurate measurements, the scientists used the method of electrochemical quartz microgravimetry (EQCM-D). In fact, they determined the mass of incoming and outgoing ions.
According to the researchers, the main attraction of this class of polymers lies in the reaction rate. Batteries based on them will be able to charge and discharge faster than currently used drives. In the long term, this may have huge impact on electric vehicles and electrical engineering.
Japanese scientists are also looking for alternatives to lithium. After studying 4300 compounds with sodium, having a crystalline structure, they found the right option that meets the stated requirements.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Getty Images