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Progress towards lithium-sulfur batteries

By Paul Grad |

An international team, led by Mahdokht Shaibani from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia; www.monash.edu), has developed an ultra-high capacity lithium-sulfur battery with better performance and lower environmental impact than current Li-ion batteries. The team includes people from Monash University, University of Liège (Belgium), Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (Dresden, Germany), Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), and CSIRO (Melbourne, Australia; www.csiro.au). Using sulfur cathodes in Li-S batteries and silicon anodes in Li-ion batteries is the most attractive example of inexpensive electrodes with excellent ability to store lithium, and hence the potential to outperform today’s Li-ion batteries. However, a problem with these electrodes is the structural fragmentation associated with the volume change during the absorption and release of large quantities of lithium. These changes lead to a loss of cohesion of particles and permanent distortion of the polymer binder and carbon matrix, both of which contribute to loss of capacity. According to the team, little attention has been devoted to the mechanical failure of thick cathodes in cycling duty. Binders, essential in the electrode composition…
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