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New glass electrolytes yield safer, more efficient batteries

By Mary Page Bailey |

A glassy solid-state electrolyte (SSE) developed by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin (UT; www.utexas.edu) will aid in the evolution of safer, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries. A major concern with the use of lithium- and sodium-ion batteries is the formation of dendrites, which can interfere with liquid and crystalline electrolytes, causing battery short-circuits — or worse, explosions and fires. UT’s glassy electrolytes are non-flammable and allow for homogenous plating on the cathode and anode, which eliminates the formation of dendrites, say UT researchers Andrew Murchison and Helena Braga. Furthermore, the electrolyte will not oxidize at the voltages needed to charge and discharge the electrodes that are currently available on the market. Simplified battery-cell fabrication, high volumetric energy density and faster rates of recharge are among the other benefits of the glass-electrolyte battery systems. The new SSE’s compatibility with lithium, sodium and potassium enables the use of these alkali metals on anodes, which isn’t possible with traditional batteries. Furthermore, the SSE is also universally compatible with off-the-shelf cathodes, enabling its use as a drop-in replacement for liquid electrolytes,…
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