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Copper nanowires and copper coating on the anode of lithium-ion batteries have been shown to boost charging speed by a team of Chinese researchers.
It has been hypothesised that the time it takes to recharge a battery is one of the factors preventing the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. For example, a Tesla vehicle’s battery may be charged from 40 percent to 80 percent in about an hour. One of the key roadblocks to quicker charging has been addressed by researchers in this latest initiative, and they’ve redesigned a battery to do so.
In order to increase charging speed, the battery’s anode must be bypassed. A non-ordered slurry of graphite is used to build the majority of the devices, which the researchers say, is not an efficient method of transmitting current through the device. They also point out that the size of the distance between them is a concern, in addition to how the materials in them line up.
Using theoretical models at the particle level, they first optimised the distributions of different-sized particles and electrode porosity in space to solve this problem. It was then used to modify a graphite anode based on what they learned from the models. Afterward, copper nanowires were added to the slurry. Anode heating and cooling compressed the slurry into a more organised state.
The anode was attached to a normal lithium-ion battery, and the charging time was recorded. Charge times for the 60 percent-charged battery were 5.6 minutes and for the 80 percent-charged battery were 11.4 minutes, respectively (compared to 40 percent for a control battery with no modifications). For lithium-ion batteries, they did not test how long it would take to charge to 100%. The researchers didn’t say if they’d done any calculations on how much more expensive the batteries would be if copper anodes were used.
Futher information: Lei-Lei Lu et al, Extremely fast charging lithium ion battery enabled by dual gradient structure design, Science Advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm6624. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abm6624
Journal information: Science Advances