The addition of various kinds of plasticizers can enhance the conductivity of polymer electrolyte systems, in some cases by many orders of magnitude. The plasticizer may be a low molecular weight solvent, or be a low molecular weight polymer. As the plasticizer concentration increases there is an inevitable deterioration in material properties. In this work we have investigated the effect of plasticizer on the conductivity, thermal properties and matrial properties of a number of systems including urethane cross-linked polyethers and polyacrylates. In some of the systems, in particular the polyether electrolytes, the plasticizer acts to enhance conduction by acting as a cosolvent for the salt as well as increasing chain flexibility. Its efficacy is dependent on its structure and characteristics as a solvent. Although Tg is lowered in a close to linear fashion with increasing plasticizer content and thereby conductivity increased rapidly, the elastic modulus changes more slowly. This reflects the coupling of conduction to the local mobility of the molecular units of the combined solvent system and the relative decoupling of the mobility and glass transition from the material properties. In these systems the latter are a function mainly of the longer range structure of the polymer network. The changes in conductivity and materials properties are interpreted in terms of a configurational entropy model of the solution.
- material properties
- polymer electrolyte