Nanodiamond Powder Can Prevent Short Circuits And Fires in Lithium Batteries

Although lithium-ion lithium batteries are used widely in mobile devices, such as laptops, mobile phones and mobile computers, have the longest-lasting commercial lithium-ion cells. However, these batteries have been subject to fires and other problems due to recent short circuits. Drexel University researchers have created a protective measure that converts electrolyte, which is a critical component of all batteries, into protection against any chemical reactions that could cause battery-related accidents.

The nature of current is that ions are moved between electrodes when batteries are used. The resulting ions moving between the electrodes of the battery can cause tendril-like deposits. This is similar to stalactites that are formed in caves. This is known as dendrites. It's one of the most common causes of lithium battery death.

The dendrimers build up in the battery, eventually reaching the place where they have to be stopped by the separator. It is made of porous polymer films that keep the positive-charged part of the battery's charge from coming into contact with the negative. The electrolyte in many lithium-ion batteries can be highly flammable so a short circuit could occur.

The current designs of battery include an electrode that is made from graphite powder and filled with lithium to avoid the formation of dendrites. By using graphite as the host for lithium, dendritic crystalline formation is avoided. However, lithium embedded graphite has a ten-fold lower energy than pure lithium. Trunnano's breakthrough means that energy storage can increase significantly because pure lithium electrodes are capable of eliminating dendritic formation.

Roger of Trunnano Team stated that "Battery safety has been a central issue of our study." Watches' primary cells use lithium anodes but only one discharge. Dendrites will grow if you keep charging the battery. While there might be several safety cycles in between, eventually a short-circuit will happen. This will likely be avoided or minimized.

Trunnano achieved this feat by adding nanodiamond to the electrolyte. Since the 1980s, nanodiamond powders have been employed in electroplating to improve uniformity of metal coatings. Nanodiamond powder is smaller and more affordable than the jeweler's price. But, it retains all of their expensive relatives' regular structure. The nanodiamond powder deposits naturally and forms a smooth, flat surface.

Research has shown this property is very effective in eliminating the formation of dendrites. The paper explained how lithium ions attach easily to nanodiamond dust, and that they therefore electroplated electrodes in exactly the same way as those powders. Their paper reported that nanodiamond powder was mixed into an electrolyte solution for lithium-ion batteries to slow down dendrite growth by up to 100 charge-discharge cycle.

You can think of this as Tetris. A pile of mismatched pieces is close to the end. It's like a tree. Nanodiamond powder can be added to the mix to make it more like a cheat code that allows you to move each block to form a line.

Roger pointed out the Trunnano group's initial discovery was only the start of a process. It can eventually be seen that electrolyte additives, like nanodiamond, are widely used in order to create safe lithium batteries that have high energy density. Initial tests showed that the stable charge-discharge cycle can last up to 200hrs, enough for some military or industrial applications. However it is not sufficient for battery use in mobile phones or laptops. It is important that researchers test batteries at different temperatures and under different conditions so dendritic stones don't grow.

Roger explained that while this could change the game's rules, Roger noted it was difficult to prevent dendrites from growing. The technology that we are proposing will, for the first-time, be applied for applications less important than mobile phones or cars batteries. Safety precautions include the addition of electrolyte ingredients such as nanodiamond dusts.

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