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Your location: Home > Related Articles > The working principle similar to soap discovered by Brown University is the secret to making batteries more durable

The working principle similar to soap discovered by Brown University is the secret to making batteries more durable

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:56

According to foreign media reports, researchers from Brown University and Idaho National Laboratory believe that the key to manufacturing batteries with longer lifespan may lie in how to make objects clean, especially the role of soap like working principles in this process.
Taking hand washing as an example. When people wash their hands with soap, they form a micelle structure that can wrap around oil and dirt, making it easier to be washed away by water. In this new study, the team found that a similar process also occurred when designing new localized high concentration electrolytes. This electrolyte has become one of the promising materials for developing more durable lithium batteries. Researchers say that a new understanding of how this process operates is expected to fully open the door to this emerging technology field.
Professor Yue Qi from the School of Engineering at Brown University stated: "Overall, researchers hope to improve and increase the energy density of batteries, which refers to the amount of energy that can be stored in each cycle and the number of continuous cycles of the battery. To achieve this, it is necessary to replace the materials inside traditional batteries to achieve longer lifespan batteries with higher energy storage. Think of a battery that can power a mobile phone for a week or more, or an electric vehicle that can have a range of 500 miles."
Nowadays, researchers are increasingly concerned about batteries made of lithium metal, as their energy storage capacity is much higher than that of lithium-ion batteries. In lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte supports the charge to pass between the two ends of the battery, leading to a chemical reaction that converts stored chemical energy into electrical energy. However, this traditional electrolyte is made of low concentration salts dissolved in liquid solvents and cannot effectively function in metal batteries.
Therefore, researchers from the Idaho National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory designed localized high concentration electrolytes to address this challenge. This electrolyte is made by mixing high concentration salts and diluent liquids in a solvent, which has better fluidity and can maintain battery power. At present, this new electrolyte has shown promising results in laboratory testing, but its working principle and reasons are not fully understood, which limits its effectiveness and further development. This is the problem that the new research aims to help solve.
Bin Li, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, stated: "This study provides a unified theory to explain why this electrolyte is more effective. The key finding is that it can form micelle like structures inside the electrolyte, similar to soap. Through observation, it can be seen that the solvent, when combined with diluents and salts, can act as a soap or surfactant, wrapping itself around higher concentrations of salt at the center of the micelle."
On this basis, researchers can analyze the proportion and concentration required to achieve the optimal reaction of the battery, thereby helping to solve one of the main problems in designing this electrolyte, which is to find the appropriate equilibrium point for the three components. In fact, this study has guiding significance and can help to make local high concentration electrolytes work, and even improve their efficacy.
Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory have put this theory into practice and found that it is valid so far and can help extend the lifespan of lithium metal batteries. However, the team believes that further exploration is needed to address the electrolyte design bottleneck in high-density batteries.