Viscous flow properties and hydrodynamic diameter of phenothiazine-based redox-active molecules in different supporting salt environments
We report viscous flow properties of a redox-active organic molecule, N-(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl)phenothiazine (MEEPT), a candidate for non-aqueous redox flow batteries, and two of its radical cation salts. A microfluidic viscometer enabled the use of small sample volumes in determining viscosity as a function of shear rate and concentration in the non-aqueous solvent, acetonitrile, both with and without supporting salts. All solutions tested show Newtonian behavior over shear rates of up to 30 000 s-1, which was rationalized by scaling arguments for the diffusion-based relaxation time of a single MEEPT molecule without aggregation. Neat MEEPT is flowable but with a large viscosity (412 mPa⋅s at room temperature), which is ∼1000 times larger than that of acetonitrile. MEEPT solutions in acetonitrile have low viscosities; at concentrations up to 0.5 M, the viscosity increases by less than a factor of two. From concentration-dependent viscosity measurements, molecular information was inferred from intrinsic viscosity (hydrodynamic diameter) and the Huggins coefficient (interactions). Model fit credibility was assessed using the Bayesian Information Criterion. It is found that the MEEPT and its charged cations are "flowable" and do not flocculate at concentrations up to 0.5 M. MEEPT has a hydrodynamic diameter of around 8.5 Å, which is almost insensitive to supporting salt and state of charge. This size is comparable to molecular dimensions of single molecules obtained from optimized structures using density functional theory calculations. The results suggest that MEEPT is a promising candidate for redox flow batteries in terms of its viscous flow properties.