Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Designing Ion ‘Highway Systems’ for Batteries: A McCormick team advanced the understanding of plastics for battery application

Monica Olvera de la Cruz
Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Abstract:
Since the early 1970s, lithium has been the most popular element for batteries: it's the lightest of all metals and has the greatest electrochemical potential.

Designing Ion ‘Highway Systems’ for Batteries: A McCormick team advanced the understanding of plastics for battery application

Evanston, IL | Posted on June 9th, 2014

But a lithium-based battery has a major disadvantage: it's highly flammable, and when it overheats, it can burst into flames. For years, scientists have searched for safer battery materials that still have the same advantages as lithium. While plastics (or polymers) seemed like an obvious choice, researchers never fully understood how the material would change when an ion charge was introduced.

Now a McCormick team has married two traditional theories in materials science that can explain how the charge dictates the structure of the material. This opens the door for many applications, including a new class of batteries.

"There is a huge effort to go beyond lithium in a flammable solvent," says Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and senior author of the paper. "People have been looking at alternatives that are not explosive, like plastics. But they didn't know how to compute what happens when you put in a charge."

The team looked at plastics known as block copolymers (BCPs) that are two types of polymers stuck together. They are a leading material for use as ion conductors because they self-assemble into nanostructures that both enable ion charge transport and maintain structural integrity. BCPs innately have nano-channels through which the ion can travel, but the charges themselves manipulate the shape of the channels. To use the material in batteries, researchers must find a way to control the shape of the nano-channels, so that the charge moves well.

"If you can optimize the ability of the charge to move through the system, then you can optimize the power that actually comes out of the battery," says Charles Sing, a postdoctoral fellow in Olvera de la Cruz's lab and first author of the paper.

The problem lies in the structure of the material. BCPs are very long chains of molecules. When they are stretched out, they extend over distances much greater than the typical size of the ion charges. However, the charges still have a strong effect on the nano-channels despite being much smaller. To properly understand the dynamics of BCPs, different theories are needed for the different length scales.

To understand how the ion charge changes the structure of the BCPs' nano-channels, Sing and Jos Zwanikken, a research assistant professor in the same lab, combined two traditional theories: the Self-Consistent Field Theory and Liquid State Theory. Self-Consistent Field Theory describes how long molecules behave.

"Liquid State Theory, on the other hand, describes how charges operate on very local, atomic levels," Zwanikken says.

While these two theories have been studied, in-depth, for decades, no one has previously put them together. When combined, they provide a new way of looking at the nano-channel systems. The electrical charge, known as an ion, is associated with an oppositely charged molecule, known as a counter-ion, which is also present in the nano-channel. Together, these ions and counter-ions are highly attracted to each other and form a salt. These salts cluster into miniature crystals, which exert a force on the nano-channels, changing their structure.

Olvera de la Cruz and her group found that these two effects balance one another—the salts want to form mini-crystals, which forces the nano-channel to deform. This understanding makes it possible to predict and even design a "highway system" through which the ions are transported, maximizing the power of the battery.

The team hopes their finding will guide experimentalists as they test materials. It will give researchers more information about the physical concepts underlying BCP systems.

Olvera de la Cruz says, "We have provided the tools to understand these systems by including ionic-length scale effects into the polymer mesoscale morphology."

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, International Institute of Nanotechnology, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Megan Fellman

847-491-3115

Copyright © Northwestern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

“Electrostatic control of block copolymer morphology” appeared in the June 8 issue of Nature Materials:

Related News Press

News and information

New Biological Nano-Fertilizers Presented in Iran as Appropriate Replacements for Chemical Fertilizers April 18th, 2015

Iranian Foodstuff, Agricultural Industries Welcome Nanotechnology Packaging Bags April 18th, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors: Company's Newest Director Brings Expertise in Commercial and Legal Matters Both in the United States and China; Joins on the Heels of Successful Business Development Trade Mission to China April 18th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Engineer improves rechargeable batteries with MoS2 nano 'sandwich' April 18th, 2015

New Biological Nano-Fertilizers Presented in Iran as Appropriate Replacements for Chemical Fertilizers April 18th, 2015

Beyond the lithium ion -- a significant step toward a better performing battery April 18th, 2015

Oxford Instruments commissions high field outsert magnet system for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory 32 Tesla magnet program April 17th, 2015

Discoveries

Optical resonance-based biosensors designed for medical applications April 18th, 2015

Iranian Foodstuff, Agricultural Industries Welcome Nanotechnology Packaging Bags April 18th, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

Protein Building Blocks for Nanosystems: Scientists develop method for producing bio-based materials with new properties April 17th, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

The National Science Foundation names engineering researcher Andrea Alú its Alan T. Waterman awardee for 2015: Alú is a pioneer in the field of metamaterials who has developed "cloaking" technology to make objects invisible to sensors April 16th, 2015

Cobalt film a clean-fuel find: Rice University discovery is efficient, robust at drawing hydrogen and oxygen from water April 15th, 2015

Combined effort for structural determination April 15th, 2015

Harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves: In the future, clean alternatives such as harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves may help ease the world's energy shortage April 15th, 2015

Announcements

New Biological Nano-Fertilizers Presented in Iran as Appropriate Replacements for Chemical Fertilizers April 18th, 2015

Iranian Foodstuff, Agricultural Industries Welcome Nanotechnology Packaging Bags April 18th, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors: Company's Newest Director Brings Expertise in Commercial and Legal Matters Both in the United States and China; Joins on the Heels of Successful Business Development Trade Mission to China April 18th, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Engineer improves rechargeable batteries with MoS2 nano 'sandwich' April 18th, 2015

Optical resonance-based biosensors designed for medical applications April 18th, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

Newly-Developed Nanocatalysts Increase Performance of Fuel Cells April 16th, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Engineer improves rechargeable batteries with MoS2 nano 'sandwich' April 18th, 2015

Beyond the lithium ion -- a significant step toward a better performing battery April 18th, 2015

Harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves: In the future, clean alternatives such as harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves may help ease the world's energy shortage April 15th, 2015

A KAIST research team develops a hyper-stretchable elastic-composite energy harvester April 13th, 2015

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Optical resonance-based biosensors designed for medical applications April 18th, 2015

The National Science Foundation names engineering researcher Andrea Alú its Alan T. Waterman awardee for 2015: Alú is a pioneer in the field of metamaterials who has developed "cloaking" technology to make objects invisible to sensors April 16th, 2015

Taking aircraft manufacturing out of the oven: New technique uses carbon nanotube film to directly heat and cure composite materials April 14th, 2015

Nanoparticles at specific temperature stimulate antitumor response: Dartmouth researchers identify precise heat to boost immune system against cancer tumors April 14th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE