Ice templating can easily lead to safer, more enduring, and flexible lithium batteries. And the same proved by a team of researchers working at the Engineering department of Columbia University. They had been looking forward to overcoming various problems related with a liquid electrolyte that can always be used in the creation of commercial lithium batteries. The team worked under professor Yuan Yang that was looking into the further utilization of solid electrolyte. The team was especially interested in the utilization of ice-templating in the creation of vertically-aligned structures made up of ceramic based solid electrolytes. The team says that these can offer faster lithium ion pathways and have better conductivity.
In order to create such things, an aqueous solution with ceramic particles, it was cooled from its bottom and the ice was allowed to grow. Then, a vacuum was applied for the transition of solid ice into gas leaving behind a vertically aligned structure. This ceramic structure was then fused with a polymer to offer flexibility and mechanical support. Yang adds, “Flexible solid state lithium batteries not only solve the safety issues but may also increase battery energy density for transportation and storage. And they show great promise in creating bendable devices.”
The team states its approach outrightly and can mainly bring improvement in the energy density of batteries. When a solid electrolyte is used, the lithium battery’s graphite anode gets replaced with lithium metal boosting its complete especially up to 70 percent. Another member of the team, Haowei Zhai, further adds, “We believe this is the first time anyone has used the ice-templating method to make a flexible solid electrolyte in lithium batteries. This opens a new approach to optimise ion conduction for next-generation rechargeable batteries.”
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