Rice scientists’ method quenches lithium metal dendrites in batteries that charge faster, last longer
Rice University scientists are counting on films of carbon nanotubes to make high-powered, fast-charging lithium metal batteries a logical replacement for common lithium-ion batteries.
The Rice lab of chemist James Tour showed thin nanotube films effectively stop dendrites that grow naturally from unprotected lithium metal anodes in batteries. Over time, these tentacle-like dendrites can pierce the battery’s electrolyte core and reach the cathode, causing the battery to fail.
That problem has both dampened the use of lithium metal in commercial applications and encouraged researchers worldwide to solve it.
Lithium metal charges much faster and holds about 10 times more energy by volume than the lithium-ion electrodes found in just about every electronic device, including cellphones and electric cars.
“One of the ways to slow dendrites in lithium-ion batteries is to limit how fast they charge,” Tour said. “People don’t like that. They want to be able to charge their batteries quickly.”...