Researchers Improve Battery Performance Using a Pinch of Salt

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Researchers discovered how a pinch of salt can improve the performance of a battery, according to a report published on May 14, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at Queen Mary University of London, University of Cambridge, and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. It was observed that by adding salt to the inside of a supermolecular sponge and then baking it at a high temperature transformed the sponge into a carbon-based structure. These carbon structures are very crucial in providing unimpeded ion transport to active sites in a battery.

Researchers use these materials in lithium-ion batteries to demonstrate that it enables rapid charging of batteries along with one of the highest capacities. Dr. Stoyan Smoukov, lead author and project leader said, “This metamorphosis only happens when we heat the compounds to 800 degrees centigrade and was as unexpected as hatching fire-born dragons instead of getting baked eggs in the Game of Thrones. It is very satisfying that after the initial surprise, we have also discovered how to control the transformations with chemical composition.”

The supermolecular sponge used is also known as a metal organic framework (MOF) material, which are attractive, molecularly designed porous materials. It finds applications in gas storage and separation. The retention of high surface area after carbonization makes them interesting as electrode materials for batteries. By the addition of salts to the MOF sponges and carbonizing them, the researchers discovered a series of carbon-based materials with multiple levels of hierarchy.

According to the researchers, this study takes the use of MOFs to a new level and it could be beneficial to the studies being conducted in the field of energy storage, energy conversion, and sensing.

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