Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Civil/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering
Room: Marriott Balcony B
Sean Jackson - Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Phong Tran, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee FL; Dr. Tarik DIckens, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL
Energy generation via renewable resources is a rapidly growing market coinciding with increased environmental awareness on fossil fuel-based environmental pollution. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are an efficient and economically viable platform for energy generation. Unfortunately, the inability to reliably scale up the manufacturing of fiber DSSCs hinders their widespread adoption and application for commercial and residential use. 3D printing, a subset of additive manufacturing, is a rapidly growing manufacturing method that allows efficient fabrication of complex, three-dimensional components. We propose that 3D printing can be used to deposit electrolytes to allow for semi-autonomous DSSC fabrication. Electrolytes function as redox mediators and act to reduce oxidized photoactive dye molecules and that can take the physical forms of liquids, solids, or gels. Gel-based electrolytes are poised to combine the liquid-based advantages of high ionic conductivity with the solid-state advantages of increased stability. Poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), known for its use in creation of homogeneous, highly tactile, gel-based electrolytes, was used as a polymer filler to increase the viscosity of liquid electrolyte blends through systematic addition in 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 wt% concentrations. Its addition modifies the viscoelastic properties of the polymer-electrolyte blend which were characterized through a four-step rheological testing procedure in which similar stresses were exerted on the electrolyte that would be applied during 3D printing process. Synthesized gel-polymer electrolytes were then vertically and horizontally extruded to analyze the effect of changing polymer concentration, nozzle diameter, horizontal nozzle speed and printing pressure on the resulting flow rate, shape expansion, deposited width and height of the extruded electrolyte. This data was captured through the use of a high-speed camera to permit real-time analysis of polymer morphology with respect to printing parameters. Finally, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was carried out to determine the effects of filament morphology and structure on the conductivity of printed polymer-electrolyte filaments, identifying the conductive properties of 3D printed electrolyte filaments with respect to polymer concentration and filament structure. Utilizing rheological analysis, high speed imagery, 3D printing applications, and EIS, we report that multiple variables can be characterized physically and electrically and their impact on the structure and conductivity of 3D printed electrolytes can be observed. Next experimental steps involve application of rheological models to allow predictive capabilities of the relationships between an electrolyte’s viscoelastic properties and physical characteristics of a 3D printed filament alongside modeling of the relationship between 3D printed filaments and its associated ionic conductivity.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to acknowledge NSF, CREST, and AFRL for supporting this research. I would also like to acknowledge the Ramakrishnan lab at the National High Field Magnetic Laboratory.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Tarik Dickens, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I have collected all of the current data for this project and have also conducted all of the data analysis.