Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Futuristic Copper Foam Batteries Get More Bang for the Buck

25.10.2013
Scientists report steps toward safer, cheaper, longer-lasting, and faster-charging solid-state battery at the AVS Meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

People use their GPS apps, cameras, and mobile internet to navigate strange cities in search of good coffee, record "selfie" commentary while they wait in line, and upload their videos directly to social media sites while they sip their latte. But no amount of high-tech savvy can save a well-loved device from dying when its battery is drained.

Smartphones suffer from the same basic ailment that plagues solar power plants and wind farms – they lack cheap, reliable, long-life batteries to store large amounts of energy for when the sun goes down, the wind stops blowing, or the device is unplugged for a long time.

“I think almost any application in technology you can think of is currently limited by the battery,” said Amy Prieto, a chemist at Colorado State University who leads a start-up company with the goal of developing a better energy storage device. The group is nearing the prototype phase for a lithium ion battery that should be safer, cheaper, faster-charging, and more environmentally friendly than conventional batteries now on the market. She will present her latest results at the upcoming AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 27 – Nov. 1 in Long Beach, Calif.

Batteries today have a number of unsolved problems, including high cost, heat output, limited lifespans, and the toxic or corrosive materials used in their manufacture. But two main issues limit the functionality of modern batteries, Prieto said: low energy density and low power density.

Low energy density means that a conventional smartphone battery can’t hold enough energy in a small enough volume to power the phone for much longer than one or two days, while low power density means the battery will take hours to recharge, instead of minutes.

Prieto’s group has tackled many of these challenges by making of list of desired properties for each of the main battery components. The team then developed one component at a time – starting with a copper foam structure the team purchased to serve as the current collector on the anode side of the battery.

“Foam is relatively easy to manufacture,” says Prieto. It also has a 3D structure that increases the surface area of the electrodes and brings them closer together, which in turn increases the power density of the battery. In terms of energy density, the foam should also get more bang for the buck. The intricate 3D structures utilize the electrode material more efficiently than a flat surface.

On top of the copper foam, the researchers electroplate the anode, made from a material called copper antimonide. In a kind of bootstrap battery building, the anode then serves as an electrode for an electrochemical polymerization reaction that deposits the battery’s solid electrolyte. Finally, the team fills the space within the foam with a slurry that is dried to form the cathode. An aluminum mesh structure collects the current on the cathode side.

The electroplating equipment the team uses is inexpensive compared to the equipment needed to make other types of batteries. Prieto estimates the cost to manufacture the copper foam batteries will be about half that of conventional lithium ion batteries made in China. The team also calculates that the foam battery should store the same amount of energy as conventional batteries in two-thirds the volume, charge five to ten times faster, and last up to ten times longer.

The research team’s new battery also promises a number of safety and environmental benefits. The solid electrolyte the team chose reduces the risk of fire posed by conventional liquid electrolytes. In addition, the team relied only on water-based, non-toxic chemistry to manufacture the battery. “This was my personal dream,” says Prieto. “I didn’t think it would actually work, but it now looks like it will.”

Throughout the design process the team had to develop new ways to make known materials, such as the copper antimonide anode, and make entirely new materials, such as the polymer electrolyte. The team has tested each individual component and has successfully built a full 2D battery on a copper plate. The researchers are now in the process of integrating all the components in 3D.

Electric bikes and portable electronics are the first test applications the team plans for their foam battery. “We are less than one year from our first prototype, after which we’ll have third party testing,” says Prieto. “We’re aiming for low volume, early market beta testing shortly after that.”

Presentation MS+AS+EM+EN+NS+TF-MoM8, “Manufacturing a Three-dimensional,
Solid-state Rechargeable Battery,” is at 10:40 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AVS 60th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION

The Long Beach Convention Center is located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.

USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS60/pages/info.html
Technical Program: http://www.avssymposium.org/
PRESSROOM
The AVS Pressroom will be located in the Long Beach Convention Center. Pressroom hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Your press badge will allow you to utilize the pressroom to write, interview, collect new product releases, review material, or just relax. The press badge will also admit you, free of charge, into the exhibit area, lectures, and technical sessions, as well as the Welcome Mixer on Monday Evening and the Awards Ceremony and Reception on Wednesday night.

This news release was prepared for AVS by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

ABOUT AVS
Founded in 1953, AVS is a not-for-profit professional society that promotes communication between academia, government laboratories, and industry for the purpose of sharing research and development findings over a broad range of technologically relevant topics. Its symposia and journals provide an important forum for the dissemination of information in many areas of science and technology, enabling a critical gateway for the rapid insertion of scientific breakthroughs into manufacturing realities.

Catherine Meyers | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete
08.12.2016 | Rice University

nachricht Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D
08.12.2016 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>