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New Battery Technology Employs Multifunctional Materials

Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that fragmented carbon nanotube films can serve as adhesive conductors in lithium-ion batteries.

“The problem with the current technology is that the binders impair the electrochemical performance of the battery because of their insulating properties,” says Bingqing Wei, professor of mechanical engineering. “Furthermore, the organic solvents used to mix the binders and conductive materials together not only add to the expense of the final product, but also are toxic to humans.”

The new battery technology employs multifunctional materials. Fragmented carbon nanotube macrofilms (FCNTs) can serve as adhesive conductors, combining two functions in one material. FCNTs are web-like meshes with “tentacles” that are coupled with active lithium-based cathode and anode materials. They are then assembled using simple ultrasound processing. The process employs no organic solvents.

The researchers see great potential for the use of this technology in vehicle applications, where quick charging and discharging are required.

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