Insights into the effects of solvent properties in graphene based electric double-layer capacitors with organic electrolytes

S Zhang and Z Bo and HC Yang and JY Yang and LP Duan and JH Yan and KF Cen, JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES, 334, 162-169 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.10.021

Organic electrolytes are widely used in electric double-layer capacitors (EDLCs). In this work, the microstructure of planar graphene-based EDLCs with different organic solvents are investigated with molecular dynamics simulations. Results show that an increase of solvent polarity could weaken the accumulation of counter-ions nearby the electrode surface, due to the screen of electrode charges and relatively lower ionic desolvation. It thus suggests that solvents with low polarity could be preferable to yield high EDL capacitance. Meanwhile, the significant effects of the size and structure of solvent molecules are reflected by non-electrostatic molecule-electrode interactions, further influencing the adsorption of solvent molecules on electrode surface. Compared with dimethyl carbonate, gamma-butyrolactone, and propylene carbonate, acetonitrile with relatively small-size and linear structure owns weak non-electrostatic interactions, which favors the easy re-orientation of solvent molecules. Moreover, the shift of solvent orientation in surface layer, from parallel orientation to perpendicular orientation relative to the electrode surface, deciphers the solvent twin-peak behavior near negative electrode. The as obtained insights into the roles of solvent properties on the interplays among particles and electrodes elucidate the solvent influences on the microstructure and capacitive behavior of EDLCs using organic electrolytes. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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