Lithium-ion batteries are getting a lot of attention these days. They are used in both smartphones as well as electric vehicles and there is a constant strive to enhance their life while cutting down their charging time simultaneously. Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) scientists have reported a breakthrough in graphene ball technology that might be the key to achieving that goal.
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon which is flexible and has a very high strength and chemical stability. It has recently been mixed with asphalt to make long-lasting roads. Graphene conducts electricity 100 times more effectively than copper and moves electrons 140 times faster than silicon.
These promising features have led the scientists to incorporate graphene in the lithium-ion batteries somehow. The scientists at SAIT working together with a team from the Seoul National University’s School of Chemical and Biological Engineering have mixed graphene with silica to produce graphene balls through a process called chemical vapor deposition.
These graphene balls were used as a material for the anode were also coated onto the nickel-rich cathode as a protective layer. This protective layer not only controls the side reaction but also provides extra conductive pathways.
According to the combined team, a full lithium-ion battery incorporating the graphene ball technology would see its charging time cut from over an hour to just 12 minutes. Furthermore, it will also provide aa 45 % boost in capacity and maintain a highly stable temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. Stable temperature range is one of the key concerns when it comes to the batteries of electric vehicles.
“Our research enables mass synthesis of multifunctional composite material graphene at an affordable price,” said Dr. Son In-hyuk, who led the research on behalf of SAIT. “At the same time, we were able to considerably enhance the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries in an environment where the markets for mobile devices and electric vehicles is growing rapidly. Our commitment is to continuously explore and develop secondary battery technology in light of these trends.”