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Home > Press > Silk could be new 'green' material for next-generation batteries

A new silk-based material could help make rechargeable batteries last longer. 
Credit: Li Ding/iStock/Thinkstock
A new silk-based material could help make rechargeable batteries last longer.

Credit: Li Ding/iStock/Thinkstock

Abstract:
Lithium-ion batteries have enabled many of today's electronics, from portable gadgets to electric cars. But much to the frustration of consumers, none of these batteries last long without a recharge. Now scientists report in the journal ACS Nano the development of a new, "green" way to boost the performance of these batteries -- with a material derived from silk.

Silk could be new 'green' material for next-generation batteries

Washington, DC | Posted on March 11th, 2015

Chuanbao Cao and colleagues note that carbon is a key component in commercial Li-ion energy storage devices including batteries and supercapacitors. Most commonly, graphite fills that role, but it has a limited energy capacity. To improve the energy storage, manufacturers are looking for an alternative material to replace graphite. Cao's team wanted to see if they could develop such a material using a sustainable source.

The researchers found a way to process natural silk to create carbon-based nanosheets that could potentially be used in energy storage devices. Their material stores five times more lithium than graphite can -- a capacity that is critical to improving battery performance. It also worked for over 10,000 cycles with only a 9 percent loss in stability. The researchers successfully incorporated their material in prototype batteries and supercapacitors in a one-step method that could easily be scaled up, the researchers note.

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The authors acknowledge funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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About American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Contacts:
Michael Bernstein

202-872-6042

Chuanbao Cao, Ph.D.
Reseach Center of Materials Science
Beijing Institute of Technology
Beijing 100081
China

Copyright © American Chemical Society

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