A polymer that combines high ionic conductivity with the structural properties required for Li electrode stability is useful as a solid phase electrolyte for high energy density, high cycle life batteries that do not suffer from failures due to side reactions and dendrite growth on the Li electrodes, and other potential applications. The polymer electrolyte includes a linear block copolymer having a conductive linear polymer block with a molecular weight of at least 5000 Daltons, a structural linear polymer block with an elastic modulus in excess of 1.times.10.sup.7 Pa and an ionic conductivity of at least 1.times.10.sup.-5 Scm.sup.-1. The electrolyte is made under dry conditions to achieve the noted characteristics. In another aspect, the electrolyte exhibits a conductivity drop when the temperature of electrolyte increases over a threshold temperature, thereby providing a shutoff mechanism for preventing thermal runaway in lithium battery cells.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
This invention was made with government support under Contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.