Flexible dielectric polymers for high temperature energy storage

Low cost, lightweight and flexible dielectric polymers that can withstand high temperatures may enable energy storage and power conversion in electric vehicles and other applications, according to researchers at Penn State University in the US.

Low cost, lightweight and flexible dielectric polymers that can withstand high temperatures may enable energy storage and power conversion in electric vehicles and other applications, according to researchers at Penn State University in the US.

"Ceramics are usually the choice for energy storage dielectrics for high temperature applications," said Professor Qing Wang, "but they are heavy and are often brittle."

Looking to address the problem, the team developed a cross linked polymer nanocomposite containing boron nitride nanosheets. This flexible material has high voltage capacity for energy storage at elevated temperatures and can be photo patterned.

According to the researchers, the composite can withstand temperatures of more than 250°C under the application of high voltages. It is manufactured by mixing the polymer and the nanosheets, then curing the polymer either with heat or light to create crosslinks. Because the nanosheets are only 2nm thick and 400nm wide, the material remains flexible. The combination is said to provides 'unique dielectric properties', which include higher voltage capability, heat resistance and bendability.

"Our next step is to try to make this material in large scale and put it into a real application," said Prof Wang. "Theoretically, there is no exact scalability limit."

Author
Graham Pitcher

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