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Chemical Engineering MagazineChementator Briefs
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Li-ion batteries Over the course of several battery charge/discharge cycles, microscopic fibers of lithium, called dendrites, sprout from the surface of the lithium electrode and spread across the electrolyte until they reach the other electrode. An electrical current passing through those dendrites can short-circuit the battery, causing it to rapidly overheat and even catch fire.   In an effort to suppress dendrite formation, scientists from CSIRO (Melbourne; www.csiro.au), in collaboration with RMIT University (Melbourne; www.rmit.edu.au) and Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane; all Australia; www.qut.edu.au), believe they have solved the problem with a new pre-treatment process.   The pre-treatment involves immersing lithium metal electrodes into an electrolytic bath containing a mixture of ionic liquids and lithium salts prior to the battery’s assembly. This creates a durable and lithium-ion-permeable, solid-electrolyte interphase that allows safe charge/discharge cycling of commercial Li/electrolyte/LiFePO4 batteries for 1,000 cycles with coulombic efficiencies better than 99.5%.   The interphase is prepared using a variety of electrolytes based on the N-propyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide…
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