Plastic power, or energy storage platforms primarily consisting of polymers, offers opportunities never before available in current state-of-the-art prismatic or coin cells, such as flexible, structural, or stretchable energy storage. Electroactive polymers, a class of polymers that undergoes reversible reduction and oxidation, are currently explored as electrodes in batteries and electrochemical capacitors. Used alone or as part of a hybrid electrode, electroactive polymers are rapidly growing in interest due to their redox activity, conductivity, synthetic versatility, and mechanical properties. This talk will first introduce how electroactive polymers operate, their specific challenges, and latest advances specifically in batteries. Several key challenges include doping level or capacity and electrochemical stability. This talk will then discuss recent work from my group that address these challenges. Specifically, we will touch upon ultra- stable polyanilines, which are reversibly stable up to 4.5 V vs. Li/Li+. Stability results from synthesizing polyaniline in the presence of a strong polyacid that dopes the polyaniline. Another advantage of electroactive polymers is that they have the potential to impart unusual flexibility and toughness into otherwise brittle metal oxides in a hybrid electrode configuration. This talk will also present highly flexible and mechanically tough V2O5 hybrid electrodes, enabled by an electroactive block copolymer. The block copolymer contains ion-conducting poly(ethylene oxide) blocks and electron-conducting poly(3- hexylthiophene) blocks. The talk will close with our latest work on organic radical polymers, a unique class of polymers that possess a stable radical functional group that is redox active. We have synthesized conjugated polymers with organic radical sidechains that exhibit an interesting internal electron transfer mechanism. The outlook for electroactive polymers is very promising with new advances in chemistry, processing, and composites. These may one day lead to ultra flexible or structural energy storage systems enabled by "plastic power".
The Van Ness Award is made in recognition of the achievements of the late H.C. Van Ness, Institute Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It is presented annually to honor a chemical engineer who has made seminal contributions to the profession. The Van Ness Award Lecture Series is sponsored by a generous endowment from Edward ’62 and Nancy Feltham.
Jodie L. Lutkenhaus is the William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellow and an Associate Professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Lutkenhaus received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from The University of Texas at Austin and her Ph.D in Chemical Engineering in 2007 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following a postdoctoral position at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she joined the faculty at Yale in 2008. In 2010, she moved to Texas A&M University and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015.
Current research areas include polyelectrolytes, electroactive polymers, energy storage, and anti-corrosion coatings. She has received recognitions including the NSF CAREER, AFSOR YIP, 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award, ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator, Kaneka Junior Faculty Award, and an ACS PMSE Young Investigator. Other awards include: World Technology Finalist (Energy) 2015; George Armistead, Jr. ’23 Faculty Excellence Teaching Award 2015 and 2014; TEES Select Young Faculty 2015 and 2013; and Montague-CTE Scholar 2014.