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Ceramic-Metal Composites for Electrodes of Lithium Ion Batteries

IB-2253

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

• Anodes for primary and secondary (rechargeable) lithium ion batteries
• Electrodes for electro-optical devices such as LEDs and OLEDs
• Reagents for chemical synthesis
• Lightweight structural alloys and cermets for aircraft and other vehicles

ADVANTAGES:

• Enhances battery performance by increasing lithium surface area by a factor of at least two
• Inhibits dendrite formation
• Higher melting point increases safety
• Smaller volume changes reduce stress and prolong battery life so that performance can exceed that of lithium foil electrodes
• Facilitates the manufacture and use of lithium alloys for batteries since material can be rolled or pressed into the desired shapes for electrodes before or after reaction

DESCRIPTION:

Lithium’s high energy density makes it desirable for use in recharcheable batteries, but its tendency to form dendrites has limited its use to primary batteries. This limitation can be addressed by using alloys, but their sticky consistency has proved an obstacle to manufacturing.

Thomas Richardson of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and fellow researchers have developed novel ceramic-metal lithium composites (cermets) by reaction between a lithium compound and another metal. The resulting material is more stable and can be handled more conveniently, allowing use of lithium in the production of rechargeable batteries as well.

The composites, which contain the alloy and a heat-resistant ceramic second phase, present distinct advantages over graphite as electrode material. Compared to traditional lithium alloys, the cermets boost battery power by increasing the available surface area at least twofold, and their porosity prevents dendrite formation.

The different components can be mixed in powder form, resulting in a workable component that can be efficiently processed by shaping or rolling before the binders or surfactants are added at a later stage.

Various composites can be created by combining lithium-containing precursors and different metals (aluminum, tin, silicon, antimony etc., and their alloys).

STATUS:

Published patent application WO/2008/157067 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/licensing/index.html.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Richardson, T.J., and G. Chen, “Solid solution lithium alloy cermet anodes,” Journal of Power Sources 174, 810 (2007).

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB- 2253

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Last updated: 06/05/2012