PhD student, Stella Maris College, University of Madras, India
The global scenario of the modern era relies majorly on energy consumption. This has revolutionized the energy sector and led to the development of new technologies and materials to cater to the steadily growing demands arising from commercialisation and industrialisation. To tap the various renewable energy sources, solar cells and photovoltaic devices are being developed. Supercapacitors and batteries are used to store energy for its sustained usage. In this respect, supercapacitors provide an edge over batteries due to their long life span and improved energy density . This aspect has been explored by developing new materials such as carbon-based materials and conducting polymers into efficient supercapacitors.
I would here like to primarily focus on polymer-based supercapacitors. The most frequently used polymers for supercapacitors are inherently conducting polymers. However, these polymers are mostly toxic and might pose a threat to the environment . With the increasing emphasis on environmental safety and ongoing research on the utilisation of these materials as biosupercapacitors, the need to delve more into finding alternatives which are more environment friendly and non-toxic has been strengthened greatly. Therefore, polymers that are inherently biocompatible can be infused with additives or structurally modified to effect energy storage applications.
Poly(styrene co-maleic anhydride) is one such polymer which has well-established biological applications and can also be used for energy storage applications with minor structural modifications. The anhydride linkage of this polymer has been exploited to perform these structural modifications. It has been reported that these modifications have greatly influenced its conductivity . Nanoparticles have been incorporated into the polymer matrix to further enhance its conductivity . This approach can be extended to many other polymers which are flexible to structural modifications for the fabrication of novel supercapacitor devices.
1. Smith, T. A., Mars, J. P. & Turner, G. A. Using supercapacitors to improve battery performance, IEEE. 1 (2003) 124–128.
2. Y.S. Li, B.F. Chen, X.J. Li, W.K. Zhang, H. Bin Tang, Cytotoxicity of polyaniline nanomaterial on rat celiac macrophages in vitro, PLoS One. 9 (2014) 1–6.
3. R. Simon, S. Chakraborty, N. Konikkara, N.L. Mary, Functionalized polystyrene maleic anhydride copolymer/ZnO nanocomposites for enhanced electrochemical performance, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 48945 (2020) 1–12.
4. S. Chakraborty, N.L. Mary, A carbon nanotube reinforced functionalized styrene-maleic anhydride copolymer as an advanced electrode material for efficient energy storage applications, New J. Chem. 44 (2020) 4406–4416.
About the author
Ms. Sohini Chakraborty has completed her master’s from Stella Maris College, Chennai, India affiliated to the University of Madras. She is currently pursuing her research in the field of polymer-based energy storage devices.