Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashok Kumar

Co-Major Professor

Elias K. Stefanakos

Keywords

Columbic, Conducting Polymer, Efficiency, Electrochemistry, Graphene, Supercapacitor

Abstract

Presently there are deep concerns over the environmental consequences and the consumption of non-renewable energy sources, with the accelerated greenhouse effect, triggered enormous interest in the use of renewable energy sources e.g., solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal. However the intermittent nature of harvesting renewable energy sources has recently gained considerable attention in the alternative reliable, cost effective, and environmentally friendly energy storage devices. The supercapacitor and lithium ion batteries are considered more efficient electrical energy storage devices than conventional energy storage systems.

Both devices have many useful and important applications; they could be an excellent source for high power and high energy density, especially in portable electronic devices and Electrical Vehicles (EVs) or Hybrid Electrical Vehicles (HEVs). In order to make the efficient usage of these stationary energy storage devices, state of the art research on new and advanced electrode materials is highly needed. The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the scope of graphene/metal oxide-conducting polymer nanocomposites electrodes for light weight, high power density and wider voltage window supercapacitor devices.

The facile chemical polymerization approach was used to synthesize the aromatic and heterocyclic conducting polymer nanocomposites. For aromatic nanocomposites, several materials were synthesized includes ZnO-PANI, ZnO/G-PANI,RuO2-PANI and G-PANI. Subsequently these materials have been characterized by physical, structural techniques e.g Raman Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Xray-Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). In addition to material characterization the prepared material was also characterized by electrochemical measurements using cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and chrono potentiometry for supercapacitor electrodes. Since graphene is a two-dimensional single-atom-thick sp2 hybridized carbon structure due to its extraordinary characteristic, high electrical conductivity, chemical stability and large theoretical surface area (over 2600 m2 g−1) has gained immense interest in the future generation of renewable energy devices. Therefore, among all aromatic based nanocomposites, the Graphene-Polyaniline (G-PANI) rendered promisingly high specific capacitance around 440 F/g with the excellent cyclic stability. The higher specific capacitance of G-PANI might be due to the high conductivity and superior electrochemical properties of graphene in G-PANI nanocomposites.

However, besides the G-PANI, other aromatic nanocomposites e.g., RuO2-PANI, ZnO-PANI and G/ZnO-PANI also showed the potential of low cost and flexible supercapacitor electrodes with the reasonably good specific capacitance as 360 F/g, 300 F/g, and 275 F/g. We have further investigated the role of conductivity by adding different amount of graphene in G-PANI nanocomposites to optimize device performance with the specific capacitance and columbic efficiency of 440 F/g and 90% respectively.Further the other important parameters, relate with the electrode thickness, type of electrolytes, concentration of electrolytes and the effect of the solvent has also been studied to achieve the overall performance and reliability of the device. Moreover, in order to have the comprehensive study of conducting polymer besides the aromatic conducting polymer the heterocyclic polymers e.g., polythiophene and poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophenes) (PEDOT) nanocomposites were studied at length to evaluate their role for the cost effective, large surface area and flexible green energy storage devices and has shown great prospects for commercial application. Therefore, G-Cps nanocomposites have proved to be a promising electrode material choice to facilitate the ionic diffusion and contact of the electrolytes to improve the specific capacitance and performance of the device.

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