Researchers from Columbia University and Beijing Institute of Technology have found that ice-templating is able to control the structure of electrolyte used in the lithium battery. The method is able to stabilize the lithium battery in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage.
The main problem with current liquid electrolyte used in the commercial lithium battery is its high flammability. The high flammable nature of liquid electrolyte has raised a safety concern for electronic devices using the lithium battery. Fortunately, a recent study from Columbia University and Beijing Institute of Technology has discovered a method to create a safer lithium battery.
An associate professor of materials science and engineering from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science at Columbia University, Yuan Yang, have discovered a technique to ice-template the molecule of electrolyte used for the lithium battery. He and the team from Beijing Institute of Technology have found that that freezing the electrolyte make the ion become more stable, according to the Columbia Engineering News.
The team from Columbia University and Beijing Institute of Technology explore the possibility of ice-template technique to use solid electrolyte to substitute the current liquid electrolyte used in the lithium battery. The ice-template enable Yang to fabricate a vertically aligned structure of ceramic solid electrolytes.
The structure is highly conductive with a fast lithium ion pathways. Subsequently, the ceramic particles are cooled until becoming ice, and the vacuum is applied to the solid ice in order to transition it to a gas.
At this state, the structure has become vertically aligned. Furthermore, the ceramic structure is combined with polymer for mechanical support and flexibility. The team from Columbia University and Beijing Institute of Technology have published the study in the NANO Letters on April 14.
The research group focuses its attention on the energy storage and conversion of the electrochemical energy and the management of thermal energy of the lithium ion. Watch the explanation about how lithium ion works in the battery below: