Anisometric charge dependent swelling of porous carbon in an ionic liquid

In situ electrochemical dilatometry was used to study, for the first time, the expansion behavior of a porous carbon electrode in a pure ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methyl-imidazolium-tetrafluoroborate. For a single electrode, an applied potential of −2 V and +2 V against the potential of zero charge resulted in maximum strains of 1.8% and 0.5%, respectively. During cyclic voltammetry, the characteristic expansion behavior strongly depends on the scan rate, with increased scan rates leading to a decrease of the expansion. Chronoamperometry was used to determine the equilibrium specific capacitance and expansion. The obtained strain versus accumulated charge relationship can be fitted with a simple quadratic function. Cathodic and anodic expansion data collapse on one parabola when normalizing the surface charge by the ratio of ion volume and average pore size. There is also a transient spike in the height change when polarity is switched from positive to negative that is not observed when changing the potential from negative to positive indicating the size and the shape of the ion is influencing the expansion behavior.