Several prior developments are combined.

Some developments reported in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles on primary electrochemical power cells containing lithium anodes and fluorinated carbonaceous (CFx) cathodes have been combined to yield a product line of cells optimized for relatively-high-current operation at low temperatures at which commercial lithium-based cells become useless. These developments have involved modifications of the chemistry of commercial Li/CFx cells and batteries, which are not suitable for high-current and low-temperature applications because they are current-limited and their maximum discharge rates decrease with decreasing temperature.

One of two developments that constitute the present combination is, itself, a combination of developments: (1) the use of sub-fluorinated carbonaceous (CFx wherein x<1) cathode material, (2) making the cathodes thinner than in most commercial units, and (3) using non-aqueous electrolytes formulated especially to enhance low-temperature performance. This combination of developments was described in more detail in “High-Energy-Density, Low- Temperature Li/CFx Primary Cells” (NPO-43219), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 7 (July 2007), page 43. The other development included in the present combination is the use of an anion receptor as an electrolyte additive, as described in the immediately preceding article, “Additive for Low-Temperature Operation of Li-(CF)n Cells” (NPO-43579).

A typical cell according to the present combination of developments contains an anion-receptor additive solvated in an electrolyte that comprises LiBF4 dissolved at a concentration of 0.5 M in a mixture of four volume parts of 1,2 dimethoxyethane with one volume part of propylene carbonate. The proportion, x, of fluorine in the cathode in such a cell lies between 0.5 and 0.9. The best of such cells fabricated to date have exhibited discharge capacities as large as 0.6 A·h per gram at a temperature of –50 °C when discharged at a rate of C/5 (where C is the magnitude of the current, integrated for one hour, that would amount to the nominal charge capacity of a cell).

This work was done by William West, Marshall Smart, Jay Whitacre, Ratnakumar Bugga, and Rachid Yazami of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Innovative Technology Assets Management
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
(818) 354-2240
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Refer to NPO-43585, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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