PAM-based hydrogel electrolyte for hybrid rechargeable aqueous (Zn and Li-ion) battery (2023)

Materials Today: Proceedings

Volume 49, Part 6,


, Pages 2491-2494

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Hybrid aqueous rechargeable batteries are very attractive alternative to conventional rechargeable lithium ion batteries for stationary application because of production and usage safety, reduced production cost and environmental friendliness. However, aqueous batteries suffer from unsolved issues including zinc dendrite formation and water decomposition. In this work, a zinc aqueous rechargeable battery with polyacrylamide hydrogel electrolyte has been developed to solve the above-mentioned problems. Polyacrylamide electrolyte effectively suppressed formation of zinc dendrites and prolonged a work time of the battery.


The rapid development of energy production technologies such as wind and solar energy leads to a growing demand for the large-scale energy storage that could evenly be effective, environmentally friendly and cost-effective [1], [2]. Lithium-ion batteries are known as the most widely used energy storage system due to their high specific energy and power density, and long lifetime. However, in the context of a large-scale application, the conventional Li-ion batteries possess a number of disadvantages such as high production cost and serious safety issues caused by use of a flammable organic electrolyte [1], [2], [3]. To reduce the production cost and alleviate safety and environmental issues rechargeable aqueous battery (RAB) systems were introduced [1], [2], [3]. Substituting organic electrolyte with aqueous solution of salts reduce the cost and risk of fire, and aqueous electrolytes have indeed higher ionic conductivity. Among introduced aqueous systems RABs based on Zn anode and Li intercalation cathode showed a promising performance. Zinc is a very attractive anode material for RABs for several reasons including low cost, chemical stability and high theoretical specific capacity (820 mAhg−1) [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. However, these battery technologies have several unsolved problems such as zinc dendrites formation, water decomposition, and hydrogen evolution, which hinder their practical application [2], [4], [8]. One of the possible ways to resolve the above-mentioned issues is a replacement of liquid aqueous electrolyte by hydrogels [1], [2], [9], [10], [4], [5], [6]. Hydrogel electrolytes have a crosslinked polymer structure with active groups such as hydroxyl, carboxyl, sulfone, and amine. These groups trap water inside of hydrogel matrix, thus ions could easily move through the swollen polymer structure [11]. Due to the crosslinked structure hydrogel electrolytes provide flexibility, mechanical durability and high ion conductivity [11]. Previously, polyaniline [10], gelatin [2] and polyacrylamide (PAM) [5], [6] based systems were introduced as a preferable hydrogel electrolytes for RABs. Zhu et al. reported a promising hybrid zinc metal Li-ion aqueous rechargeable battery with polyacrylamide (PAM) hydrogel. However, the system performance was studied only at negative temperatures and dendrite issue was not addressed thoroughly [6].

Inspired by those reported studies, the present work aimed to resolve the water decomposition and zinc dendrite formation issues of RABs using PAM hydrogel electrolyte. Electrochemical performance of a cell composed from zinc metal anode, LiFePO4 cathode and PAM hydrogel was investigated.

Section snippets

Fabrication of hydrogel electrolyte

Acrylamide monomer (AA, Sigma-Aldrich) of 3 g was dissolved in 12 ml of deionized water. Then, 0.0015 g of cross-linking agent N, N'–methylene bisacrylamide (MBA, Sigma-Aldrich), which is 0.05% wt. of AA, was added into the AA solution and stirred until the MBA was fully dissolved. After that mixture was degassed (15 min in a vacuum) and thermostated in 20–25 °C until the solution reached room temperature. Then, 0.0356 g of initiator ammonium persulfate (AP, Sigma-Aldrich) was added to the

Results and discussion

A hydrogel prepared with 0.05% MBA has a high gel fraction of 98.4% and swelling degree of of 42 (Fig. 1a). Therefore, this hydrogel was chosen as an optimum for aqueous battery among tested ones. While the smallest concentration of 0.01% wt. has a highest swelling degree of 43.4, its mechanical property was not satisfactory and drying kinetic test revealed its low water retention ability. MBA of 0.05% wt. concentration wt. concentration has much higher swelling degree in comparison with 0.1%


Zinc aqueous battery with polyacrylamide hydrogel electrolyte was compared with absorbent glass matt separator. Aqueous battery electrochemical performance and scanning electron microscopy analysis of the zinc anode revealed a different electrochemical behavior between compared systems, which derives from the difference in the matrix structure. Polyacrylamide hydrogel polar groups effectively hold aqueous electrolyte inside the structure preventing water decomposition and hydrogen gas

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Orynbay Zhanadilov: Methodology, Investigation, Formal analysis, Writing - original draft. Almagul Mentbayeva: Conceptualization, Supervision, Project administration, Methodology, Writing - review & editing. Zhanna Beisbayeva: Investigation. Magzhan Amze: Investigation. Zhumabay Bakenov: Funding acquisition, Resources.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This research was supported by the targeted state program No. BR05236524 “Innovative Materials and Systems for Energy Conversion and Storage” from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2018-2020.

References (11)

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    High performance Zn/LiFePO4 aqueous rechargeable battery for large scale applications

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