Nanochain electrodes could increase battery capacity and reduce charging times

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

As Purdue University’s Kayla Wiles highlights, the researchers created a net-like structure called a “nanochain” out of antimony, a chemical element with the symbol Sb and atomic number 51 that is used to enhance the charge capacity of lithium ions in batteries.

In testing with coin cell batteries, the team observed that after a 30-minute charge, units with nanochain electrodes achieved double the lithium ion capacity compared to batteries with graphite electrodes which is most commonly used in today’s batteries. This was true over 100 charge / discharge cycles.

Some commercial batteries already use composites similar to antimony as an electrode but the material tends to swell as it takes in lithium ions, sometimes by as much as three times. This, as you could imagine, leads to serious safety hazards.

To combat the expansion, Purdue scientists applied a reducing agent and a nucleating agent to accommodate the required expansion. The reducing agent, ammonia-borane, creates empty spaces inside the nanochain, affording room for expansion and helping to suppress electrode failure.

Vilas Pol, a Purdue associate professor of chemical engineering, said that in testing, “there's essentially no change from cycle one to cycle 100, so we have no reason to think that cycle 102 won't be the same.”

Of course, theory and actuality are two very different things. The truth of the matter is, a lot more testing is needed to determine the long-term safety of nanochain electrodes. It’s a great first step that it survived 100 charge / discharge cycles but in the real world, batteries go through thousands of these cycles over their lifetime.

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Small advances to battery tech improve them every year so while press releases breathlessly tout "breakthroughs," the useful ones to eventually get incorporated so that we can play 3D games on a goddam phone for 3.5 hours instead of 3.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Small advances to battery tech improve them every year so while press releases breathlessly tout "breakthroughs," the useful ones to eventually get incorporated so that we can play 3D games on a goddam phone for 3.5 hours instead of 3.
People think battery tech isn't increasing just because it doesn't increase with the rate of Moore's law. It is increasing, it's why you can get away with forgetting to charge your phone overnight and still have your alarm go off vs having to charge your iPhone 1 every 8 hours.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I've hired a lot of Purdue engineers over the years and in all that time I only had one that was a "dud". Considering their emphasis on the highest quality product I think I would give them the benefit of a doubt and one thing not as well known is that they don't give up on a project until it's finished ....
 

Godel

TS Addict
After a quick look on Wikipedia it seems that China is a main producer of antimony and may be restricting output in the future.

Seems like we've been here before.
 

Markoni35

TS Addict
Anytime I see "nano" or "carbon" I already know big things are coming.
Every time I see "nano" and "carbon" I know another "deepfake" is coming. Similar to "researchers have found a new cancer cure" or "NASA is planning Moonbase in the next 5 years".

I've been reading those same headlines for decades and decades, and they were always false. Just buying some time, hoping that people will forget that headline in 5 or 10 years. Well... they are right. Most of people do. I didn't.