New research presents batteries based on lithium metal, batteries that are stable for a longer time, have shorter charging times and are safer to use
[Translation by Dr. Nachmani Moshe]The new research has long been published by Penn University scientists in the journal Science Nature Energy. The researchers succeeded in developing a cross-linked XNUMXD polymer structure that adheres to the metal plate of the battery's anode. "The purpose of this project is to develop the next generation of metal batteries," said researcher Donghai Wang, a professor of mechanical engineering at Penn University and the principal investigator. "Lithium metal has been used in batteries for decades, but there are still fundamental factors that hinder the development of the use of this metal."
Under additional load, similar to the methods required for fast charging in electric vehicles, batteries based on lithium ions are susceptible to a phenomenon known as 'dendritic growth' - needle-like structures that reduce life time and can cause safety problems, such as a fire or explosion of the battery. "Our approach was to use a polymer fixed to the surface of the lithium metal," said the lead researcher. The material functions as a porous sponge that not only encourages the movement of the ions, but it also inhibits the erosion of the material. "This condition allows the metal plate to avoid the formation of dendrites, even at low temperatures and under fast charging conditions," explains the researcher.
The practical applications of this research could lead to the development of more powerful and stable technologies for metal batteries suitable for everyday life, according to the researchers. "In an electric vehicle, for example, a battery of this type could increase the driving range of the vehicle by hundreds of kilometers before the driver has to recharge it," said the researcher. "In addition, such batteries will be able to extend the activity time of smartphones." Looking to the future, the researchers plan to test the practical applications in a larger battery cell to demonstrate the benefits and engineering feasibility of this technology.
A three-dimensional, cross-linked polymer sponge that adheres to the metal plate of the anode of a lithium-ion battery and enables faster passage of lithium ions and increased stability over time [Courtesy: Donghai Wang]