Elemental sulfur is essentially a waste product from the petroleum industry. It is usually used for producing nothing more exotic than sulfuric acid. However, researchers at the University of Arizona, USA, and their colleagues, have now found a potential use in the domain of electrochemistry.
They have developed a technique they refer to as ‘inverse vulcanization’ to make processable polymers by direct copolymerization of elemental sulfur with vinylic monomers. These materials have tuneable thermomechanical properties, the team says, which can be patterned on the microscale using lithography and could be developed as the active material in next-generation high-capacity Li-S rechargeable batteries.
- The use of elemental sulfur as an alternative feedstock for polymeric materials,
Woo Jin Chung, Jared J. Griebel, Eui Tae Kim, Hyunsik Yoon, Adam G. Simmonds, Hyun Jun Ji, Philip T. Dirlam, Richard S. Glass, Jeong Jae Wie, Ngoc A. Nguyen, Brett W. Guralnick, Jungjin Park, Árpád Somogyi, Patrick Theato, Michael E. Mackay, Yung-Eun Sung, Kookheon Char, Jeffrey Pyun,
Nat. Chem. 2013.