Nanotubes will give us better batteries

Rice University scientists count oncarbon nanotube films to create high-power, fast-charging lithium metal batteries that can replace traditional lithium-ion batteries. Chemist James Tour's laboratory has shown that thin films of nanotubes effectively inhibit processes that grow naturally from unprotected lithium metal anodes in batteries. Over time, these dendrites, like tentacles, can pierce the electrolytic core of the battery and reach the cathode, after which the battery fails.

This problem has suspended the use of lithium cells (not to be confused with lithium-ion) in commercial applications and has prompted scientists around the world to solve it.

When will the batteries be better?

Lithium cells charge much faster andcan store 10 times more energy in volume than lithium-ion electrodes, which today can be found in any electronic device, including mobile phones and electric cars.

“One way to slow down dendrites in lithium-ion batteries is to limit their charging speed,” says Tour. “People don’t like it. They want to charge their batteries quickly. ”

The Rice team proposal described in Advanced Materials is simple, inexpensive, and extremely effective in slowing the growth of dendrites, says Tour.

“We did it very simply,” says the chemist. “You just need to cover lithium metal foil with a multilayer carbon nanotube. "Lithium absorbs a film of nanotubes, which becomes black red, and the film, in turn, scatters lithium ions."

A carbon nanotube is allotropiccarbon modification, which is a hollow cylindrical structure with a diameter from tenths to several tens of nanometers and a length of one micrometer to several centimeters, consisting of one or more graphene planes rolled into a tube. And as you know, the graphene plane has a thickness of one carbon atom.

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