Better Ion Transport Through Polymer Chemistry: Polymer Electrolytes and Ion-conducting Membranes

ACS Webinars

Electrochemical processes in devices like solar cells, fuel cells, lithium batteries, and water desalination systems rely on the safe, efficient, and robust transport of anions and cations between electrodes — all made possible by polymer chemistry!

Join two experts working on advances in polymer technology for use in the next generation of ion transport systems. First, Alexei Sokolov, ORNL/UT Governor’s Chair and Professor of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Tennessee, will introduce you to this exciting time of progress in the field of polymer electrolytes. Prof. Sokolov will provide an overview of the microscopic mechanisms controlling ion transport in polymer electrolytes, present recent achievements in the design of polymer electrolytes with high conductivity at ambient temperatures and share several examples of polymer-based solid-state batteries. Previous generations of batteries rely on liquid electrolytes to carry ionic charges, but new polymer electrolytes are reaching a level of conductivity that will enable solid state batteries with significant gains in energy density, robustness, and safety.

Then, Michael A. Hickner, the Craig A. Rogerson Endowed Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University, will zoom out to describe how mechanically tough polymer membranes with high ionic conductivity control the flow of electrolytes in the ion transport system. Prof. Hickner will cover key aspects of the synthesis of acid- and base-containing polymers that are used as proton and hydroxide exchange membranes in electrochemical devices, including the relationship between the membrane’s polymer backbone, ion content, and water uptake. Prof. Hickner will also describe the role of water in conducting protons and hydroxide anions and provide examples of other key applications for ion-containing polymers.

This ACS Webinar is moderated by X. Chelsea Chen, R&D Staff Polymer Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and co-produced with the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry.

What You Will Learn

  • Fundamentals of ion transport in polymers
  • Recent achievements in design of polymer electrolytes with high ionic conductivity
  • Advantages of polymer-based solid-state batteries
  • Synthesis of acidic and basic polymers for use in ion-conducting membranes
  • The role of water in conduction of protons and hydroxide anions
  • Key applications for ion-containing polymers

Co-Produced With


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Alexei Sokolov
ORNL/UT Governor's Chair, Professor of Chemistry and Physics, Chemical Sciences Division, University of Tennessee

Michael Hickner
Craig A. Rogerson Endowed Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University & Associate Editor, ACS Applied Energy Materials

X. Chelsea Chen
R&D Staff Polymer Scientist,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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