Melting Our Way Towards Solid-State Batteries

Researchers have developed a method to make all-solid-state lithium batteries that will not catch fire or explode.

AsianScientist (Jan. 8, 2016) – By melting a solid electrolyte and coating the molten electrolyte around electrodes, researchers have developed an all-solid-state lithium battery that will not catch fire or explode. Their research has been published in Advanced Materials.

The organic liquid electrolyte used in existing lithium ion batteries is prone to catching fire. Researchers have been trying to develop all-solid-state lithium batteries as a non-flammable alternative. However, powder-type solid electrolytes does not flow easily, reducing the contact between electrolytes and electrode active materials and making it more difficult to move lithium ions to the electrode. These disadvantages severely restrict the performance of solid-state batteries.

To solve these problems, a research team led by Professor Jung Yoon Seok of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and Professor Oh Seung M. of Seoul National University has developed a way to coat the active materials with the solid electrolyte.

Called solution-process, it works by dissolving the powder-type active material in the melted solid electrolyte and then vaporizing the solvent. This process made it easier to coat the layers of solid electrolyte on the active materials.

The research team also developed a material for the solid electrolyte by adding the iodized lithium (LiI) to the compound (Li4SnS4). The compound’s ionic conductivity was originally low, but was increased after the addition of LiI. Combining two materials together made it possible to develop the solid electrolyte with high ion conductivity and air stability.

“Our newly developed solid electrolyte has the high ion conductivity and no toxicity problem. In addition, the prices of the raw materials and solvent (methanol) are comparatively low. With this technology, commercialization of solid lithium battery will be available sooner than we thought,” Jung said.

The article can be found at: Park et al. (2015) Solution-Processable Glass LiI-Li4SnS4 Superionic Conductors for All-Solid-State Li-Ion Batteries.


Source: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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