Electric vehicles (EV) hold great promise for our sustainable and energy-efficient future but among their drawbacks are the lack of a long-lasting, high-energy density battery that helps to reduce fuel consumption. in long distance journeys. The same is true for homes during blackouts and power outages ̵1; small, efficient batteries that can power the house for more than a night without electricity still don’t exist. Next-generation lithium batteries provide lightweight, long-term, and low-cost energy storage that could revolutionize the industry, but there are a host of challenges that have prevented successful commercialization.
One major issue is that although the rechargeable lithium metal anodes play an important role in how well this new wave of lithium batteries performs, during battery operation they are highly susceptible to dendrites develop, microscopic structures that can lead to dangerous short circuits, catch fire, and even explosion.
Researchers at Columbia Engineering today report that they have discovered that alkali metal additives, such as potassium ions, can prevent lithium microstructure growth during battery usage. They used a combination of microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (similar to MRI), and computational modeling to discover that adding a small amount of potassium salt to a conventional lithium battery electrolyte produces Unique chemistry at the lithium / electrolyte interface. Research is published online today at Physical Science Cell Report (and in the November 18 print).
In particular, we found that potassium ions minimize the formation of unwanted chemical compounds that are deposited on the surface of the lithium metal, said PI Lauren Marbella, an assistant professor of the research team. and prevent lithium ion transport during battery charging and discharging, ultimately limiting microstructure development ”. Chemical engineering.
Her team found that alkali metal additives inhibit the development of non-conductive compounds on lithium metal surfaces other than traditional electrolysis manipulation approaches, which focus on deposition of conductive polymers on metal surfaces. This work is one of the first in-depth descriptions of the surface chemistry of lithium metals using NMR, and demonstrates the power of this technique in designing new electrolytes for lithium metal. . Marbella’s results were supplemented with theoretical density function (DFT) calculations performed by the Viswanathan group collaborators in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.
“Commercial electrolytes are a cocktail of carefully selected molecules,” Marbella notes. “Using NMR and computer simulation, we can finally understand how these unique electrolytic formulas improve lithium metal battery performance at the molecular level. This insight finally gives. The researchers have the tools they need to optimize electrolyte designs and enable stable lithium metal batteries. “
The team is currently testing alkali metal additives that prevent harmful surface layers from forming in combination with more traditional additives to encourage the development of conductive layers on lithium metal. . They are also actively using NMR to directly measure the lithium transport rate across this layer.
This study is titled “Utilizing Cation Identification for Engineer’s Solid Electrolytic Phases for Rechargeable Lithium Metal Anodes.”
The surprising strength of liquid crystal
“Take advantage of Cation identification for engineer solid electrolysis phases for rechargeable Lithium metal anodes.” DOI: 10.1016 / j.xcrp.2020.100239
Provided by Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
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