3D-printed electrodes could help cut battery costs and increase performance

Tohoku University materials scientist Akira Kudo, a Ph.D. student at the University of California Los Angeles, Yuto Katsuyama, and colleagues are looking at ways to achieve high-performance, low-cost batteries. So they decided to make more effective sodium-ion batteries.

3D-printed electrodes could help cut battery costs and increase performance

The 3D-printed lattices.

Although this will reduce the use of inactive materials used to connect multiple cells, it will limit the movement of ions within the newly produced battery. Kudo and his team have addressed this by developing an approach that fabricates micro-architected, high-performing negatively charged (anode) electrodes.

The project uses 3D technology

Researchers use 3D stereolithography to make this new battery. 3D microlattices made from resin are then carbonized and shrunk in a process called pyrolysis. The resulting hard carbon anodes allowed fast transportation of energy-generating ions. Alongside all these improvements, the researchers also increased the lattice structure.

The team aims to use the same approach to make positively charged (cathode) electrodes for the next phase of the research. The aim is to create high-performance, cost-effective sodium-ion batteries and to use these fine-structured electrons to be produced.

Understanding lithium ion batteries

A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery can be recharged repeatedly, and lithium ions can pass from the negative electrode to the positive electrode in an electrolyte during discharge. Li-ion cells use an intercalated lithium compound as the material at the positive electrode and typically graphite at the negative electrode.

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