We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers focusing on fundamental understanding of ion-containing polymeric materials and functional soft matter for electrochemical devices and related chemical-mechanical phenomena for energy applications. The overarching research theme is the structure-property characterizations and modeling of these polymers to understand and optimize their functionality in various electrochemical technologies, from proton-exchange membrane and alkaline fuel cells to low-temperature electrolyzers and flow batteries. Our work involves a wide range of topics from continuum modeling and diagnostics of ion-containing polymers (ionomers) and thin films at solid interfaces, including interrogation of their transport and mechanical properties and structure/function relationships, to morphological characterization through state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray techniques at the Advanced Light Source (ALS).
Research interests and activities include:
- Structure/Property relationships and modeling of ionic soft matter for energy conversion
- Investigation of transport/stability relationships of anion- and cation-exchange membranes
- Development of characterization tools for morphology and mechanics of functional polymers (with the ALS)
- Understanding and mitigation of failure in solid-electrolyte separators
- Ionomer studies for Fuel-Cell Performance and Durability (FC-PAD consortium)
- Membrane durability including combined chemical-mechanical degradation effects
- Elucidating electrode ionomer film behavior to improve cell performance
- PFSA-based ionomers and thin films (see our recent review).
- Characterization of novel polymer membrane separators for