Lithium batteries may soon have a longer life expectancy -
Between the popularization of electric cars and the ever-increasing number of products carrying a lithium battery (smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.), this type of battery has never been so popular.
This obviously has an impact on the production of materials necessary for their proper functioning, in particular cobalt and nickel - the extraction of which is strongly criticized.
However, these materials are available in limited quantities on Earth and the increasing demand could explode their price in the years to come.
This is why researchers are trying to find alternatives.
This is how researchers at the City University of Hong Kong have developed a new cathode - an essential element for the battery - from a new material: manganese.
The latter is more durable than the materials used today to make the cathodes of current lithium batteries.
In addition, the manganese-based cathode developed by the researchers offers a greater charge-recharge cycle, which can extend the life of lithium batteries.
Finally, present in mass on earth, manganese is inexpensive.
“The capacity of LiCoO 2 cathode material currently applied in electronic products like smartphones is around 165mAh / g, while our LiMnO 2 cathode material has already reached a capacity as high as 254.3mAh g - 1. , which is much higher, ”said one of the study's researchers.
The solution to an old problem
This is not the first time that manganese has been studied to replace cobalt and nickel in lithium batteries, but this idea had been put aside due to the fact that this chemical element was unstable during the charge cycle- recharge.
A problem to which Dr Liu, an expert in the development of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries who oversaw the research, found a solution.
Without going into chemical details, Dr. Liu's team managed to stabilize manganese by altering its atomic structure.
Modified, this element can very well be used to serve as a cathode in smartphone batteries.
The researchers hope that their research will allow the commercialization of more durable batteries.
“Our material has the potential to replace cobalt materials currently marketed for applications such as electronics and electric cars,” concluded Dr Liu.
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