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Towards High Power Polypyrrole/Carbon Capacitors

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Synth. Met. (Switzerland), Volume 152, Number 1-3, p.129 - 132 (2005)



carbon;conducting polymers;electric impedance;electrolytic capacitors;polymer films;porous materials;


Conducting polymers demonstrate effective capacitances of more than 100 Farads per gram, 5 orders of magnitude higher than traditional capacitors. However polymer discharge times tend to be on the order of seconds, as opposed to the milli or microseconds of conventional capacitors, so that the overall power density is still at least an order of magnitude lower. The polypyrrole devices are essentially electrolytic capacitors in which charging times appear to be limited by rates of ionic mass transport and RC charging times. Electrochemical impedance measurements suggest diffusion time constants of 33 ms in 158nm thick polypyrrole films with volumetric capacitances of 107F/m3. The impedance of a highly porous polypyrrole/carbon composite was measured to investigate the achievement of similarly fast response times in much thicker materials. It is shown that increasing the polypyrrole content of the film increases capacitance up to 60F/g, but also increases the charging time constant. Analysis of the rate limiting factors suggests a method of optimizing capacitor geometry in order to maximize rates, including the prediction of device geometries that will lead to power delivery matching those of traditional capacitors. [All rights reserved Elsevier]


polypyrrole-carbon capacitor;conducting polymer;polymer discharge;power density;electrolytic capacitor;ionic mass transport;RC charging time;electrochemical impedance measurement;diffusion time constant;polypyrrole film;volumetric capacitance;impedance;porous polypyrrole-carbon composite;158 nm;