Alkaline polymer electrolyte with sub-zero conductivity for zinc-air batteries

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University of New Brunswick


Due to the increasing demand for flexible electronics that can function in harsh environments, research on flexible solid-state batteries, especially zinc-air batteries (ZAB), is expanding. However, the electrolyte in the current commercially available ZAB still suffers from drying out after prolonged exposure to air. Here, the synthesis of a flexible conductive hydrogel electrolyte that can function at low temperatures was attempted. The polymer chain was made up of potassium polyacrylamide-co-acylate and crosslinked using N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide. Three variants of cellulose were added to improve the stretchability of the hydrogel. We found out that acrylamide decomposed in the high concentration of base required for ZAB electrolyte. Further understanding of the polymer chains had helped improve our hydrogel design, which can tolerate high molarity of base and functions at -23°C. Electrochemical studies were carried out to understand the charge transport properties of the electrolyte in the hydrogel.