What element can replace lithium as a battery material?

In addition to the problem of high reactivity, lithium also faces other problems when used as a battery. The natural reserve of lithium in the earth's crust ranks 31st among all elements, which is relatively large and cannot be called a truly rare element. But the problem is that there are few places where lithium is produced, only Chile, Bolivia and other regions. If these production areas interrupt their supply for some reason, the world will suddenly fall into the predicament of a lack of lithium resources. The concentration of sodium in seawater is very high, and its production area is very wide. If sodium can be used to replace lithium, people's worries about insufficient lithium supply can be completely eliminated.


In the periodic table, sodium is located in the next row of lithium, and both belong to the first group of alkali metal elements and have very similar properties. Although sodium has a slightly lower ionization tendency than lithium (the voltage of the battery becomes slightly lower), it does not prevent its use as an electrode. Therefore, in accordance with basically the same mechanism as lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries can be produced.


The "disadvantages" of sodium are also its "advantages"


Sodium is heavier than lithium (atomic weight is about 3 times that of lithium), and ions are also larger (about 2 times the volume of lithium). Therefore, sodium-ion batteries are at a disadvantage in terms of battery miniaturization and portability.


However, everything has two sides. Although sodium atom (ion) is larger, it also has big advantages. Sodium ions move faster in the battery solution (electrolyte) than lithium ions. Therefore, sodium ion batteries can charge and discharge faster than lithium ion batteries.


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