Tiny silicon particles could power lithium ion batteries with 10 times more capacity

phys.org | 1/15/2019 | Staff
dorkyrocker (Posted by) Level 3
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University of Alberta chemists have taken a critical step toward creating a new generation of silicon-based lithium ion batteries with 10 times the charge capacity of current cells.

"We wanted to test how different sizes of silicon nanoparticles could affect fracturing inside these batteries," said Jillian Buriak, a U of A chemist and Canada Research Chair in Nanomaterials for Energy.

Silicon - Shows - Higher-capacity - Batteries - Lithium

Silicon shows promise for building much higher-capacity batteries because it's abundant and can absorb much more lithium than the graphite used in current lithium ion batteries. The problem is that silicon is prone to fracturing and breaking after numerous charge-and-discharge cycles, because it expands and contracts as it absorbs and releases lithium ions.

Existing research shows that shaping silicon into nano-scale particles, wires or tubes helps prevent it from breaking. What Buriak, fellow U of A chemist Jonathan Veinot and their team wanted to know was what size these structures needed to be to maximize the benefits of silicon while minimizing the drawbacks.

Researchers - Nanoparticles - Sizes - Graphene - Aerogels

The researchers examined silicon nanoparticles of four different sizes, evenly dispersed within highly conductive graphene aerogels, made of carbon with nanoscopic pores, to compensate for silicon's low conductivity. They found that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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