Influence of Host Polarity on Correlating Salt Concentration, Molecular Weight, and Molar Conductivity in Polymer Electrolytes

BK Wheatle and EF Fuentes and NA Lynd and V Ganesan, ACS MACRO LETTERS, 8, 888-892 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.9b00317

We use coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to study the effect of salt concentration and host polymer molecular weight on ion transport in polymer electrolytes. We find that increasing salt concentration or molecular weight similarly slows polymer dynamics across a wide range of host polarities, and that the resulting relaxation times display a correlation to the product of the salt concentration and polymer molecular weight. However, we find that molar conductivity only decreases with polymer dynamics at high polarities but is uncorrelated with the latter at low polarities. We attribute such differences to the variation in ionic aggregation between high and low polarity electrolytes. At low polarity, ionic dissociation significantly increases with molecular weight and salt concentration, offsetting the slowdown in polymer dynamics and yielding the observed insensitivity of molar conductivity. However, at high polarity, ions are mostly dissociated, independent of either molecular weight or salt concentration, thereby strongly coupling molar conductivity to polymer dynamics.

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