Scientists are constantly exploring alternative materials to break through battery bottlenecks, and silicon is a material recognized by many scientists as promising. A team of researchers from Clemson University recently proposed a new design that overcomes some of the problems of incorporating the material into lithium-ion batteries, demonstrating a lightweight, versatile device that can power satellites and spacesuits.
Scientists have long studied the potential of silicon in lithium-ion batteries, and using this material as an anode component can increase the storage capacity of these devices by 10 times. But to be commercialized, there are some issues that need to be addressed.
First of all, silicon does not have the same durability as graphite. When the battery is charged and discharged, it tends to expand, contract and break down into small pieces. This will result in the deterioration of the anode and the failure of the battery. Over the past few years, scientists have come up with a variety of potential solutions, including the transformation of silicon into spongy nanofibers or tiny nano-balls that can then be integrated into devices.
The team from Clemson University hopes to enhance the reliability of silicon with a carbon nanotube sheet called Buckypaper, which is used to develop heat shields for the next generation of aircraft. The flakes are paired with tiny, nanoscale silicon particles, which the team says are arranged much like a deck of cards, sandwiched between each layer.
Shailendra Chiluwal, lead author of the study, said: “Separate carbon nanotubes maintain electrical connections between silicon nanoparticles, creating a quasi-three-dimensional structure that keeps silicon nanoparticles together even after 500 cycles and reduces the resistance caused by the rupture of nanoparticles.”
The team believes that the advantage of this approach is that even if the battery charges and discharges causing the silicon particles to rupture, they are still locked in the mezzanine and can function. This means that the battery could theoretically have a higher capacity, which means that energy can be stored in a lighter battery, reducing the overall weight of the device.
As an additional incentive, the use of nanotubes has created a buffer mechanism that allows batteries to charge at four times the current iteration speed, scientists say. This lightweight, fast-charging, high-capacity battery can be used for a variety of purposes, including electric vehicles, space exploration, and more.
Study author Ramakrishna Podila said: “Most satellites get electricity mainly from the sun. But satellites must be able to store energy for them in the shadow of the Earth. We must make the battery as light as possible, because the heavier the satellite, the higher the cost of its mission. “
The study was published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Source: Clemson University.