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There are abundant reserves of silicon. Si and Li can be combined to form a Li4.4Si, which has a theoretical specific energy of 4200mAh/g. That is almost 10 times more than the lithium ion that is absorbed by the widely used lithium batteries. In the present day, silicon materials are used in lithium-ion cells mainly for two reasons. One way is to add nano-silicon to anode materials to form a carbon-silicon anode. To improve the performance, organosilicon compounds can be added to the electrolyte.
The University Alberta created a new generation silicon-based lithium battery

Jillian Biriak and her team at the University of Alberta (Canada) discovered recently that reducing silicon to nano-sized particles can help prevent it from breaking.
Nano-silicon can be defined as crystalline particles of silicon that have a diameter less than five nanometers. It is an important nonmetal amorphous substance. Nano silicon powder is non-toxic, odorless, has small particle sizes, uniform distributions, large surface areas, high surface activities, and low bulk density. Nano-silicon can have a variety of uses: It can be used to make high temperature coatings and refractory material, and it can also be mixed with diamond under high pressurized to form composite materials. These materials can then be used as cutting tool, or combined with graphite to form composite materials made from silicon and carbon. The negative electrode material in lithium-ion cells increases the battery’s capacity. This material can be combined with organic matter to create organic silicon polymer.

The team studied and tested four sizes of nanoparticles of silicon to determine which size would maximize its advantages while minimizing the disadvantages. They are evenly dispersed in a graphene-carbon aerogel with nanopores that compensates for the low conductivity.

After multiple cycles of charge and discharge, they found that particles as small as one part per meter showed the most stability. This eliminates the limitations of using silicon for lithium-ion battery. This discovery could result in batteries that have 10 times the current capacity of lithium-ion battery. It’s a major step toward the manufacture of a next generation of lithium-ion-based batteries. The research findings were published in the journal Materials Chemistry.

The lithium battery industry’s chain of the silicon anode market is worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars

This research can be applied in many fields, including electric vehicles. The batteries will become lighter, travel longer and charge faster. Next step will be to create a method that is faster and cheaper to produce silicon nanoparticles. This will make it easier for industrial production.

Other than new energy vehicles, the need for lithium-ion battery with higher energy and power density is also present in energy storage and shipbuilding. The positive electrode is now made from high nickel ternary material, while the negative electrode is made from silicon and its composite material.

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