Specific Surface versus Electrochemically Active Area of the Carbon/Polypyrrole Capacitor: Correlation of Ion Dynamics Studied by an Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance with BET Surface

Mosch, Heike L. K. S.; Akintola, Oluseun; Plass, Winfried; Höppener, Stephanie; Schubert, Ulrich S.; Ignaszak, Anna
Carbon/polypyrrole (PPy) composites are promising electrode materials for energy storage applications such as lightweight capacitors. Although these materials are composed of relatively inexpensive components, there is a gap of knowledge regarding the correlation between surface, porosity, ion exchange dynamics, and the interplay of the double layer capacitance and pseudocapacitance. In this work we evaluate the specific surface area analyzed by the BET method and the area accessible for ions using electrochemical quartz-crystal microbalance (EQCM) for SWCNT/PPy and carbon black Vulcan XC72-R/PPy composites. The study revealed that the polymer has significant influence on the pore size of the composites. Although the BET surface is low for the polypyrrole, the electrode mass change and thus the electrochemical area are large for the polymer-containing electrodes. This indicates that multiple redox active centers in the charged polymer chain are good ion scavengers. Also, for the composite electrodes, the effective charge storage occurs at the polypyrrole–carbon junctions, which are easy to design/multiply by a proper carbon-to-polymer weight ratio. The specific BET surface and electrochemically accessible surface area are both important parameters in calculation of the electrode capacitance. SWCNTs/PPy showed the highest capacitances normalized to the BET and electrochemical surface as compared to the polymer–carbon black. TEM imaging revealed very homogeneous distribution of the nanosized polymer particles onto the CNTs, which facilitates the synergistic effect of the double layer capacitance (CNTs) and pseudocapacitance (polymer). The trend in the electrode mass change in correlation with the capacitance suggest additional effects such as a solvent co-insertion into the polymer and the contribution of the charge associated with the redox activity of oxygen-containing functional groups on the carbon surface.
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4440 - 4449