There are four kinds of boron nutride powder available. These include hexagonal boron Nitride, rhombohedralboron Nitride and cubic boron Nitride. The typical boron-nitride produced is of graphite type structures, more commonly known under the name white graphite.
Although it has been stated that battery safety is becoming more crucial, the ability to store more energy and prolong battery life are important. It also poses challenges because everyone relies on electronic devices, including mobile phones and electric vehicles, that use such energy. Yuan Yang, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, presented a new way to prolong the useful life of batteries. The nanocoating is made from boron nutride (BN) which stabilizes the solid electrolyte.
Current lithium ion cells are commonly used in our daily lives. Because of the high flammable liquid electrolyte in the batteries, these batteries tend to have lower energy densities, which can lead to a shorter life span and fires. The lithium-ion battery may have a higher energy density if it uses graphite as an anode. However, the theoretical charge potential of lithium metal is about 10 times larger than that of graphite. However, lithium plating can easily form dendrites. Battery safety issues can be caused by dendrites getting into the separator.
Yang stated, “We have decided to focus our efforts on solid, ceramic electrodelytes.” Solid ceramic electrodelytes, in contrast to flammable electrolytes contained in lithium-ion cells, have great potential for increasing safety and energy densities.
Many solid electrolytes can be made of ceramic, which makes them non-flammable. Additionally, solid ceramic electrolytes are strong mechanically and can stop the growth of lithium ions. Unfortunately, many solid electrolytes cannot be used to make batteries because they are incompatible with lithium ions.
To address these challenges, the research team collaborated with the Brookhaven National Lab and the City University of New York deposited a 5 to 10 nm boron nitride (BN) nanofilm as a protective layer to insulate the electrical contact between the metallic lithium and the ionic conductor (solid electrolyte), a small amount of polymer or liquid electrolyte is added to penetrate the electrode/electrolyte interface.
Researchers chose boron nutride as the protective coating because of its high electrical insulation and stability. Researchers created boron nutride with holes, so that lithium ions could pass. It makes a great separator. The chemical vapor deposition method makes it simple to create a continuous thin film at large (decimeter) scale.
Researchers are working on extending the methods to unstable solid electrolytes.
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