Harnessing the Power of Plastics in Energy Storage

Professor Jodie Lutkenhaus, Texas A&M University

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
3:25 p.m.–4:40 p.m.

Goergen Hall 101

Abstract:  Polymers have the potential to enhance the performance and safety of lithium-ion batteries as a result of their ability to simultaneously optimize often contradictory properties in a single material. While there is great interest in developing solid polymer electrolytes in the community, we focus here entirely upon redox active polymeric electrodes. However, the requirements for redox active polymers for energy storage are quite stringent; these include electroactivity or high doping level, stability, reversibility, conductivity, and practical application at high mass loadings. This talk will first introduce how electrochemically active polymers operate, their specific challenges, and latest advances. Organic radical polymers are interesting for their rapid redox kinetics, high power, and radical-based chemistry. These polymers exchange electrons and ions by a process very different from conjugated polymers such as polyaniline. The origin of this process, as well as how it may be manipulated by adjusting the polymer backbone chemistry, are explored. Next, Kevlar aramid nanofibers and reduced graphene oxide nanosheets for super-stiff capacitors are presented. These assemble into stiff and strong electrodes, where the extensive non-covalent interactions between the two nanomaterials enhance the mechanical properties. Finally, highly flexible and mechanically tough V2O5 hybrid electrodes, enabled by a redox active block copolymer, are presented. This demonstrates how a specially designed polymer binder can dramatically enhance electrode toughness and eliminate failure by pulverization, all while simultaneously conducting ions and electrons. As we look to the future, polymers may be the enabling factor towards unconventional batteries, possibly merging plastic electronics with plastic power to form a new paradigm.


Bio: Jodie L. Lutkenhaus is the William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellow and an Associate Professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Lutkenhaus received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from The University of Texas at Austin and her Ph.D in Chemical Engineering in 2007 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following a postdoctoral position at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she joined the faculty at Yale in 2008. In 2010, she moved to Texas A&M University and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015. She holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. Current research areas include polyelectrolytes, redox-active polymers, energy storage, and anti-corrosion coatings. She has received recognitions including World Economic Forum Young Scientist, Kavli Fellow, NSF CAREER, AFOSR YIP, 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award. She serves as the 2nd Vice Chair for Materials Engineering Sciences Division of AICHE. She is also an Editorial Advisory Board Member for ACS Macro Letters, Macromolecules, and ACS Applied Nano Materials. Lutkenhaus is the Deputy Editor of ACS Applied Polymer Materials.