The future of batteries

By The Mercury

A Kansas State University researcher is developing more efficient ways to save costs, time and energy when creating nanomaterials and lithium-ion batteries.

Gurpreet Singh, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his research team have published two recent articles on newer, cheaper and faster methods for creating nanomaterials that can be used for lithium-ion batteries.

In the past year, Singh has published eight articles — five of which involve lithium-ion battery research.

For the latest research, Singh’s team created graphene films that are between two and 10 layers thick. Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon. The researchers grew the graphene films on copper and nickel foils by quickly heating them in a furnace in the presence of controlled amounts of argon, hydrogen and methane gases.

The team has been able to create these films in less than 30 minutes. Their work appears in the January issue of ACS-Applied Materials and Interfaces in an article titled “Synthesis of graphene films by rapid heating and quenching at ambient pressures and their electrochemical characterization.”

The research is significant because the researchers created these graphene sheets by quickly heating and cooling the copper and nickel substrates at atmospheric pressures, meaning that scientists no longer need a vacuum to create few-layer-thick graphene films and can save energy, time and cost, Singh said.

The researchers used these graphene films to create the negative electrode of a lithium-ion cell and then studied the charge and discharge characteristics of this rechargeable battery.

They found the graphene films grown on copper did not cycle the lithium ions and the battery capacity was negligible.









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