Rodger Yuan

Solubility of Intermediary Polysulfides in Ion Conductive Block Copolymers

Batteries with high energy density have important applications as energy storage devices in portable electronics. This summer, I will be studying solid-state lithium-sulfur batteries with block copolymer electrolytes. This the benefit of this design is twofold: the Li-S chemistry has a theoretical specific capacity over 6 times that of todays lithium-ion battery and the polymer electrolyte eliminates the need to use liquid organic electrolytes, which are flammable and volatile. However, there are many challenges that must be overcome before Li-S batteries are viable as future energy storage systems. The problem I will be focusing on for the summer is the dissolution of lithium polysulfides into the polymer electrolyte. As the battery discharges, these polysulfides can dissolve into the ion-conducting polymer and migrate to the anode, causing self-discharge. Using lamellar block copolymers as a cathode binder, we hope to create complex diffusion pathways or chemical potential gradients to localize polysulfide diffusion.

Message to Sponsor

With the money graciously donated to the SURF/Rose Hills program, I will be doing research in Professor Nitash Balsaras group working with lithium-sulfur batteries. In the future, I wish to work in an energy related field of work, and I am thankful to the Rose Hills Foundation for providing me a channel to pursue my interests early in my academic career. I am most thankful for the $1000 allotted for lab related expenses, which will allow me to present a poster at AIChE this October.
  • Major: Materials Science and Engineering
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Nitasash Balsara, Chemical Engineering