Graphite Anode Or Cathode for Li-Ion Batteries
Graphite is a common anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), which store energy by intercalating ions into its lattice. It has excellent electrochemical properties and a long cycle life, which means it can be used in a variety of applications.
Several companies are developing materials that could dramatically improve Li-ion batteries. Among them are Sila Nanotechnologies, led by former Tesla engineer Boris Berdichevsky; Nexeon, a British start-up that's now a minority owner in Sila; and Wacker Chemie, which has developed a technology that it says can boost the energy density of a lithium-ion battery by about 20%.
Silicon, meanwhile, is the preferred anode material for many auto and electric vehicle makers because it is lighter than graphite, more stable than lithium, and easier to manufacture. It also has the added benefit of being able to be charged ten times faster than traditional Li-ion batteries, as well as offering better load capacity and longevity.
The first step in boosting anode performance is to optimize the material's morphology. This involves sizing and packing the particles to make them more efficient in the dis-/charge cycle and prevent clogging of the pores during charging or discharge. This can be done using a scanning electron microscope, which can see the individual grains of graphite.
Another approach is to chemically alter the graphite particles' surface, which can be achieved by treating the material with an oxidative solution or ceramic materials. This can be performed on both the basal and edge planes of the graphite particles to enhance the coulombic efficiency.