Rechargeable Lithium based batteries are used every day in your computers, cell phones, tablets and automobiles. These batteries provide high energy cost effective electro-chemical energy storage. However, these batteries can only provide a few hours of charged time and over a certain time period they had to be replaced mainly due to dendrite problem.
This problem involves the development of dendritic structures within the lithium battery cell resulting in short circuit and rapid overheating. The new developments have provided the solution to this problem.
Cornell University chemical engineers have found out in a recent research that adding halide salts to the liquid electrolytes can increase the daily life cycle of the rechargeable battery by a factor of 10.
The salts form nanostructure surface coatings on a lithium battery anode to avoid the formation of dendrites. The professor Lynden Archer says that it has definitely solved a grand challenge in the field.
Up until now, the dendrite problem was resolved to some extent through careful electrolyte design and battery operating conditions. The Cornell team used a different approach – they studied the stability of metal electrodeposition.
The conclusion drawn from the study was that adding halogen salts to the electrolyte solution lead to long-term charge/recharge cycling at room temperature. The experimental results backed this theory as no signs of instability were witnessed over hundreds of cycles and thousands of operating hours.
The research came out at a time when demand for lithium batteries were expected to rise. The increased interest was due to the announcement of lithium battery “gigafactory” being built by the Tesla Motors.
The Cornell research team spent two years conducting this research and the findings were published in Nature Materials.