Gel polymer electrolytes (GPE) and composite GPE (cGPE) using one-dimensional glass microfillers have been developed for their use in lithium-oxygen batteries. Using glass microfillers, tetraglyme solvent, UV-curable polymer, and lithium salt at various concentrations, the preparation of cGPE yielded free-standing films. These cGPEs, with 1 wt % of microfillers, demonstrated increased ionic conductivity and lithium transference number over GPEs at various concentrations of lithium salt. Improvements as high as 50% and 28% in lithium transference number were observed for 0.1 and 1.0 mol kg-1 salt concentrations, respectively. Lithium-oxygen batteries containing cGPE similarly showed superior charge/discharge cycling for 500 mAh g-1 cycle capacity with as high as 86% and 400% increase in cycles for cGPE with 1.0 and 0.1 mol kg-1 over GPE. Results using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy revealed that the source of the improvement was the reduction of the rate of lithium carbonates formation on the surface of the cathode. This reduction in formation rate afforded by cGPE-containing batteries was possible due to the reduction of the rate of electrolyte decomposition. The increase in solvated to paired Li+ ratio at the cathode, afforded by increased lithium transference number, helped reduce the probability of superoxide radicals reacting with the tetraglyme solvent. This stabilization during cycling helped prolong the cycling life of the batteries.
Keywords: Li−O2 battery; composite gel polymer electrolyte; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; electrolyte decomposition; electrolyte stability; glass microfillers; lithium transference number.