Polymers are commonly used in the energy field as matrices for photovoltaics, but they also have the potential to act as electrodes. My work in Matt Golder’s lab is upcycling polyolefins via post-polymerization modification, a method of chemically transforming polymer chains to give them new properties with added value. I am using a selenium-catalyzed amination reaction developed by the Michael lab to add sulfonamides to the polymer backbone, modifying their thermal and physical properties. Recently, it has been found that conjugated sulfonamides can be used to form lithium-ion positive electrodes that are air-stable and demonstrate reversible electrochemistry, allowing for charge storage. I am attempting to functionalize post-consumer polybutadiene with these sulfonamides to create a polymer with these properties that can be used as a battery electrode.
Advisor: Matthew Golder – Chemistry