Comparison of starch and gelatin hydrogels for non-toxic supercapacitor electrolytes
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Starch and gelatin are two of the most abundantly available natural polymers. Their non-toxicity, low cost, and compatibility with aqueous solvents make them ideal for use in ubiquitous, environmentally friendly electronics systems. This work presents the results of conductivity measurements through impedance spectroscopy for gelatin- and starch-based aqueous gel electrolytes. The NaCl-based gels were physically cross-linked. The conductivity values were 84.6 mS/cm at 1.5 mol L−1 and 71.5 mS/cm at 2 mol L−1 for gelatin and starch, respectively. The mechanical properties of gelatin were found preferable to those of starch, although they deteriorated significantly when the salt concentration exceeded 2 mol L−1. The ability of the gels to successfully act as a supercapacitor electrolyte was demonstrated with printed electrodes on plastic substrate. The devices were characterized through cyclic voltammetry measurements. The results imply that these polymer gel electrolytes are very promising for replacing the traditional aqueous liquid electrolytes in supercapacitors in applications where, for example, user and environmental safety is essential.
The authors are indebted to the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation [Dec. No. 40337/14] and the Academy of Finland [Dec. No. 139881] for the financial support given to this research.