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Using sand to improve battery performance
Date:7/8/2014

ater into the purified quartz. The resulting powder was then heated. With the salt acting as a heat absorber, the magnesium worked to remove the oxygen from the quartz, resulting in pure silicon.

The Ozkan team was pleased with how the process went. And they also encountered an added positive surprise. The pure nano-silicon formed in a very porous 3-D silicon sponge like consistency. That porosity has proved to be the key to improving the performance of the batteries built with the nano-silicon.

The improved performance could mean expanding the expected lifespan of silicon-based electric vehicle batteries up to 3 times or more, which would be significant for consumers, considering replacement batteries cost thousands of dollars. For cell phones or tablets, it could mean having to recharge every three days, instead of every day.

The findings were just published in a paper, "Scalable Synthesis of Nano-Silicon from Beach Sand for Long Cycle Life Li-ion Batteries," in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. In addition to Favors and the Ozkan's, authors were: Wei Wang, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zafer Mutlu, Kazi Ahmed and Chueh Liu. All five are graduate students working in the Ozkan's labs.

Now, the Ozkan team is trying to produce larger quantities of the nano-silicon beach sand and is planning to move from coin-size batteries to pouch-size batteries that are used in cell phones.


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

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