A joint research team from Tianjin University and Tsinghua University has recently produced a lithium anode featuring air stability and water proof features; the lithium anode can significantly boost the energy density and specific energy of lithium-ion batteries, which makes it a better option than graphite anode.
The breakthrough was achieved with a specially designed dip coating method. The dip coating method can be used to create a special wax-PEO coating which is capable of curbing the penchant of lithium for reacting with air and water, and stopping the formation of lithium dendrites during the charging and discharging processes. The formation of the lithium dendrites has been viewed as a major problem in the past, as they can potentially pierce through the insulation layer of a battery, which can lead to fires and accidents.
According to the experiments from the two universities, in an environment with the humidity reaching 70%, a battery with a lithium anode coated with wax-PEO will still retain up to 85% of its original capacity after 24 hours, without showing any damages to and corrosion of its surface. It also wouldn’t burn or suffer from a drop in capacity after being in direct contact with water. As a whole, the batteries’ performances would still remain stable after 500 hours and during 300 cycles of charging and discharging, with the attenuation rate per cycle reaching only 0.075%.
In an attempt to improve the future performances of the industry’s lithium ion batteries, a number of other research teams from around the world are also actively developing new kinds of anode for lithium-ion batteries. This includes the silicon anode being developed by Sila Nanotechnologies of the U.S., which can boost the capacity of batteries by 20%.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Paralog via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0 )