Researchers replace graphite anode with silicon that allows compact batteries to charge faster furthermore increasing battery life.
A team of researchers at the Drexel University and Trinity College replace graphite-based anodes with silicon. This technique can help increase battery-life of Lithium-ion batteries. A material called MXene prevents the silicon anode from expanding to an extent where it reaches its breaking point.
The energy storing capacity of the silicon-based electrodes is much more than the graphite-based electrodes. Further, the batteries become more stable with adding MXene material to the silicon anode. Inside the batteries, the cathode and anode hold charge in which the ions travel back and forth from anode to cathode. Once the battery is charged, the ions travel back to the anode. The enhanced ability of the electrodes to receive and send more ions increases the battery life. Replacing silicon in place of graphite would mean one silicon atom picking four ions of lithium, where earlier four carbon atoms would pick one silicon atom. However, charging of silicon means expanding of material which can cause malfunction in the battery’s performance.
Solution to the challenge was to mix silicon with carbon and polymers, however this process is quite complex and the energy storing capacity of carbon is very less. The research team then tries mixing MXene with silicon to manufacture a hybrid silicon MXene anode. The MXene wraps the silicon particles and acts as a binder thus preventing expansion of the battery. The MXene being a two-dimensional material allows more movement of ions thereby enhancing the conductivity and capacity of the electrode. The MXene nanosheets also resolve the mechanical instability caused during the battery’s performance. Furthermore, the slurry casting technique that manufactures the MXene can be chipped into any shape for it to fit into any of our routine devices. The study was published in scientific journal Nature Communications on February 21, 2019.
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