Liquid electrolyte immobilized in compact polymer matrix for stable sodium metal anodes

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Journal Article
Energy Storage Materials, 2019, 23 pp. 610 - 616
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© 2019 Sodium metal batteries suffer from severe capacity decay due to the continuous side-reactions between sodium metal anode and conventional carbonate electrolyte using porous glass fiber (GF) membranes as the separator, especially at elevated temperature. Moreover, sodium dendrites preferentially propagate through the low-modulus pores and cause severe safety issues. Here a compact gel polymer electrolyte (GF-GPE) with high ionic conductivity is developed by tightly immobilizing liquid electrolyte in polymer matrix embedded in GF membranes. The extensive interaction between the liquid electrolyte and polymer matrix promotes the formation of a stable Na/GF-GPE interface to effectively reduce the side reactions at both room and elevated temperature. The GF-GPE could regulate the depth concentration profile of NaF, a key solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) component, to deter sodium dendrites formation and side reactions. As a result, the Na3V2(PO4)3/GF-GPE/Na cell presents outstanding cycling stability. Its capacity retention after 2000 cycles at 1C under room temperature is as high as 95% and that after 500 cycles at 60 °C reaches 84%. This study successfully develops a robust and scalable approach by using a compact gel polymer electrolyte to achieve stable sodium metal anodes at room and elevated temperature.
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