Investigating discharge performance and Mg interphase properties of an Ionic Liquid electrolyte based Mg-air battery

Yajing Yan, Daniel Gunzelmann, Cristina Pozo-Gonzalo, Anthony F. Hollenkamp, Patrick C. Howlett, Douglas R. MacFarlane, Maria Forsyth

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The performance of a primary Mg-air cell was evaluated at room temperature using a 72 mol% ethylene glycol/trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium chloride ([P6,6,6,14][Cl]) ionic liquid (IL) electrolyte. The cell was cycling in ambient air as well as in the presence of pure oxygen, and interestingly the cell presented much higher discharge capacity in air than in oxygen, which was attributed to the effect of water in the ambient air. When operated in ambient air, the cell showed promising discharge behaviour with a maximum rate of 0.2 mA cm−2 and a discharge capacity of around 4.8 mAh cm−2. When operated at a low rate 0.0075 mA cm−2, the cell lasted for over 260 h, 10 days, at a potential above 1.3 V. Thus, the main focus of this study is the analysis of the mechanism of discharge capacity loss in this electrolyte, which revealed that, both the polarization due to the presence of a resistive Mg interphase on the anode surface and, concentration polarization due to the quick accumulation of Mg2+ ions in the IL based electrolyte are responsible. In-depth surface characterization suggested the discharge products accumulated on the Mg surface with a proposed formula [P6,6,6,14]·Cl·Mg(OH)2·9[Mg(OCH2CH2OH)Cl]·40H2O most likely had a highly-crosslinked chemical structure, which were responsible for the limited ionic conductivity of the Mg interphase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-279
Number of pages10
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Ethylene glycol
  • Ionic Liquid
  • Primary Mg-air
  • Surface Characterisation
  • Trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium chloride

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