Title: Fabrication of Styrene-maleic anhydride /CNT nanocomposites for supercapacitor electrodes

Sohini Chakraborty

Stella Maris College, India


Sohini Chakraborty has finished her post-graduation from Stella Maris College, Chennai, India and registered for PhD under the guidance of Dr. Mary N.L at the University of Madras, Chennai, India. She has been privileged to be a part of the Summer Training Program in Chemistry (STIC-2016) held at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam,India. As a part of her M.Sc project, she was able to work in collaboration with CavinKare Research Centre, Chennai, India to formulate polymer nanocomposites for cosmetic face mask applications. She published a paper on the same in the ‘International Journal for Research in Applied Science and Engineering Technology’ and has presented papers at International Conferences on this topic. She has also co-authored publications in the field of silicon adhesives along with her research team. Currently, she is working in the field of polymer nanocomposites for supercapacitor studies and other electrochemical applications.


The potentially useful structure of Carbon nanotubes provides the advantage of allowing easy ion diffusion when introduced into a composite polymer matrix. A composite polymer matrix has been formulated with Poly(styrenemaleic  anhydride) that has been functionalized with a thiadiazole moiety with the incorporation of Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) to form nanocomposites that effect electrochemical applications. Supercapacitor electrodes have been fabricated and electrochemically characterized using a three-electrode cell assembly. The enhancement in electrochemical performance obtained by the addition of CNT has been extensively studied. On increasing the overall weight percentage of CNT in the polymer matrix, high resiliency is observed which provides good cycling stability and augmented electrochemical activity. The rectangular shaped graph obtained from the Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) measurements confirmed the applicability of the nanocomposites as supercapacitor electrodes. Chronopotentiometric (CP) techniques were employed to determine the cycling stability of the newly synthesized working electrodes. Capacitance-Voltage measurements have been carried out using the Mott-Schottky analysis to determine the doping densities and the type of carriers. The morphological characterization of the composites was carried out using Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Transmission electron microscopy (TEM).  Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to authenticate the proper functionalization of the polymer and incorporation of nanoparticles in the polymer composite matrix. Ultraviolet Visible (UV-Vis) Spectroscopy determined the band gap of the polymer composites and the nanocomposites. X-ray diffraction (XRD) was performed to find the crystalline structure of the polymer composites. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) results confirmed the thermal stability of the polymer composites.

Audience take away:

1. This work provides a new platform for exploring the use of commercially available polymers that can be functionalized to affect electrochemical applications.
2. Carbon nanotubes has toxic side effects and thus to use it in the form of a nanocomposite will help to reduce the amount used and at the same time will provide enhanced electrochemical performance.
3. The future scope of this work includes the fabrication of high performance supercapacitor devices.