May 24, 2017 | Updated: 05:38 PM EDT

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Graphene-Nanotube Hybrid Improves Performance of Lithium Metal Batteries Three Times Better Than Lithium-Ion

May 19, 2017 02:16 PM EDT

Lithium portable power station Goal Zero's Yeti 1400 is displayed at CES 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Jan. 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo : David Becker/Getty Images) The performance of lithium metal battery can be improved to three times capacity of the lithium-ion battery using a hybrid of graphene and carbon nanotube.

Scientists found that graphene-nanotube hybrid can increase the performance of lithium metal battery. The performance of the battery is three times better than the capacity of the commercial lithium-ion battery.

A team of chemists at the Rice University in Houston, Texas has found that using the graphene-nanotube hybrid as lithium storage can solve the main problem in the lithium metal battery that has bewildered researchers for years. The dendrite problem is the major problem for the next generation of the lithium battery. In the lithium-ion battery, the whiskers of lithium grow inside the electrolyte inside the battery, which can catch fire from inside the battery.

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The latest major dendrite problem happens in Samsung Galaxy Note 7, as lithium-ion battery uses the electrolyte liquid as the conductive path to transfer the cations from the negative to the positive electrodes during discharge. The electrolyte is highly flammable, and when the battery has short-circuited, it punctures the separator between the negative and positive side of the battery which immediately catches fire. However, using the graphene-nanotube hybrid as the anode can eliminate the flammability and increase the power, as stated in the press release from the Rice University.

The prototype of the lithium metal battery from Rice University is using a graphene-nanotube hybrid as an anode to store the lithium metal. The graphene-nanotube hybrid anode is able to increase the storage of the lithium to its maximum capacity, thus resisting the formation of the dendrite.

Researchers at Rice University created the graphene-nanotube hybrid material in 2012. The material itself is a three-dimensional carbon surface, made of graphene and carbon nanotube that provides the abundant area for lithium to inhabit. The researchers have published their finding in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

The graphene-nanotube hybrid is the much safer anode than electrolyte, as the material itself has zero flammability. This finding has opened further usage of the graphene-nanotube hybrid, a carbon composite of graphene and nanotube. Watch the report from Fujitsu Laboratories eight years ago regarding the composite of graphene and nanotube below: