Emily Doyle

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Kantor

Magnesium-Sulfur Battery Production

This project focuses on magnesium sulfur batteries, which are a unique form of energy storage that have promising prospects for use in commercial settings such as the automotive industry and sustainable home environments. A problem common to metal-sulfur batteries is that of the polysulfide shuttle effect, in which intermediate discharge/charge products known as polysulfides poison the anode surface and undergo a redox shuttle process. This phenomenon results in poor capacity retention and short life-cycles. In our research, the nature of polysulfides generated during the battery cell cycling will be observed and characterized through qualitative and quantitative procedures. With the knowledge of the behavior of polysulfides throughout cell cycling, we will be able to know how best to manipulate the battery to control polysulfide transport, maximize cell life, and increase power output. One major goal of the project is to thoroughly understand the speciation of polysulfide anions within the battery cell. The speciation of anions, in terms of the number of sulfur atoms per polysulfide anion, will give insight into the design requirements for a successful battery cell. For example, this information will enable us to develop a suitable polymer for physical separation between the anode and cathode of the battery, which will maximize the cell life by blocking the polysulfides from crossing over to the anode, thereby mitigating the polysulfide shuttle effect.