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Pressure cooking to improve electric car batteries
Date:11/18/2013

vehicles because of its low cost, low toxicity and thermal and chemical stability. However, its commercial potential is limited because it has poor electronic conductivity and lithium ions are not very mobile within it.

Several synthetic methods have been utilized to overcome these deficiencies by controlling particle growth. Here, Kisailus and his team used a solvothermal synthetic method, essentially placing reactants into a container and heating them up under pressure, like a pressure cooker.

Kisailus, Zhu and their team used a mixture of solvents to control the size, shape and crystallinity of the particles and then carefully monitored how the lithium iron phosphate was formed. By doing this, they were able to determine the relationship between the nanostructures they formed and their performance in batteries.

By controlling the size of nanocrystals, which were typically 5,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, within shape-controlled particles of LiFePO4, Kisailus' team has shown that batteries with more power on demand may be generated.

These size and shape modulated particles offer a higher fraction of insertion points and reduced pathlengths for Li-ion transport, thus improving battery rates. Kisailus and his team are currently refining this process to not only further improve performance and reduce cost, but also implement scalability.


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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@gmail.com
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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