Turns out, the secret to making better batteries lies in using carbon nanotubes.
Lead researcher James Tour said that nanotube films effectively stops dendrites that grow from unprotected lithium metal anodes in batteries, and over time, can pierce the battery's electrolyte core and reach the cathode, eventually resulting in a battery failure.
"One of the ways to slow dendrites in lithium-ion batteries is to limit how fast they charge," Tour said.
He further mentioned that a coat of lithium metal foiled with a multiwalled carbon nanotube film does the job.
"The lithium dopes the nanotube film, which turns from black to red, and the film, in turn, diffuses the lithium ions," he added.
According to another lead researcher, Rodrigo Salvatierra, physical contact with lithium metal reduces the nanotube film and goes on to balances it by adding lithium ions.
"The ions distribute themselves throughout the nanotube film," Salvatierra added.
When the battery is in use, the film discharges stored ions and the underlying lithium anode refills it which helps in maintaining the film's ability to stop dendrite growth altogether.
The test revealed that the tangled-nanotube film effectively destroyed dendrites over 580 charge/discharge cycles of a test battery when used with a sulfurised-carbon cathode.
The researchers even reported that the full lithium metal cells retained 99.8 per cent of their efficiency.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)