Effect of Hydrodynamic Interactions and Flow on Charge Transport in Redox-Active Polymer Solutions

Dejuante W. Walker, Charles E. Sing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redox-active polymers (RAPs) are a subclass of polyelectrolytes that can store charge and undergo redox self-exchange reactions. RAPs are of great interest in the field of redox flow batteries (RFBs) due to their ability to quickly charge and discharge, their chemical modularity, and their molecular size. However, designing RAPs for efficient charge transport at the molecular level requires a fundamental understanding of the charge transport mechanisms that occur in RFBs. Previous work from our group has explored these mechanisms, and in this paper, we seek to improve upon the previous model by incorporating both hydrodynamic interactions (HIs) and out-of-equilibrium dynamics, which are both highly pertinent to flow battery systems. We use a hybrid Brownian dynamics and Monte Carlo simulation to model redox-active polymer chains in both dilute and semidilute solutions. This model is used to show that HI is an important feature when charge hopping is not the major mechanism for charge displacement and leads to more rapid segmental and translational motion of polymer chains that expedites charge transport at low polymer concentrations. We demonstrate that strong extensional flows may result in either enhanced or decreased transport depending on the fraction of charges present on the RAP chain. We show that flow not only can promote charge transport by extending polymer conformations but can also suppress nonadjacent charge hopping processes that are important for transport at high charge fractions. Shear flows can similarly enhance charge transport through chain extension, but tumbling dynamics lead to oscillatory displacements that become dominant features with high charge fractions and strong flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1796-1811
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 22 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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