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Overcoming a Battery's Fatal Flaw

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A lithium-ion battery was the suspected cause of this laptop fire.

Researchers are using supercomputers explore potential new lithium-metal battery chemistries.

Credit: Shmuel De-Leon

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) and Texas A&M University are using the Stampede and Lonestar supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to develop next-generation lithium-metal batteries.

These batteries could eventually be used for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and smart grids, which require significantly more energy capacity than the consumer devices for which lithium-ion batteries have proven successful.

The team is using supercomputers to understand the core chemistry and physics at work in the formation of dendrites (clumps of lithium atoms that can cause batteries to heat up) and to engineer new materials that can mitigate dendrite growth that occurs with extended battery cycling.

A new coating material could solve the dendrite problem by protecting the lithium metal and making the ion deposition smoother.

The researchers say a graphene oxide nanosheet sprayed onto a glass fiber separator can be inserted into the battery, allowing lithium ions to pass through it but slowing and controlling how the ions combine with electrons from the surface to become neutral atoms.

From Texas Advanced Computing Center
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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