University Overseas Has New Development That Boron Nitride Coating Extends Battery Life And Ensures Battery Safety

The boron nitride powder has four different variants: hexagonal boron nitride (HBN), rhombohedral boron nitride (RBN), cubic boron nitride (CBN), and wurtzite boron nitride (WBN). The boron nitride usually produced is a graphite type structure, commonly known as white graphite. It has been reported that it is becoming more and more important that improve battery energy storage capacity, increase battery life and ensure safe battery operation, it's also challenges for us, as everyone is increasingly relying on devices such as mobile devices and electric vehicles that require such energy. However, on April 22, 2019, the Overseas University engineering team led by Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, announced that a new method has been developed to safely extend battery life by implanting a boron nitride (BN) nanocoating to stabilize the solid electrolyte in a lithium metal battery.

At present, conventional lithium ion batteries are widely used in daily life. Such batteries have low energy density, resulting in a short life span, and may also cause short circuits or even fires due to the highly flammable liquid electrolyte inside the battery. The use of lithium metal instead of the graphite anode in a lithium-ion battery can increase the energy density of the battery; lithium metal theoretically has a charge capacity nearly 10 times higher than that of graphite. However, in the process of lithium plating, dendrites are easily formed. If the dendrites penetrate the separator in the middle of the battery, a short circuit may occur, which may cause battery safety concerns.

Yang said: "We decided to focus on solid, ceramic electrolytes. Compared with flammable electrolytes in traditional lithium-ion batteries, solid ceramic electrolytes show great potential in improving safety and energy density."

Most solid electrolytes are ceramic and therefore non-flammable, eliminating safety hazards. In addition, the solid ceramic electrolyte has high mechanical strength and can actually inhibit the growth of lithium dendrites, so that the lithium metal can become a battery anode coating. However, most solid electrolytes are unstable to lithium ions and are easily corroded by lithium metal and cannot be used for batteries.

To address these challenges, the research team collaborated with the Brookhaven National Lab and the City University of New York deposited a 5 to 10 nm boron nitride (BN) nanofilm as a protective layer to insulate the electrical contact between the metallic lithium and the ionic conductor (solid electrolyte), a small amount of polymer or liquid electrolyte is added to penetrate the electrode/electrolyte interface.

The researchers chose boron nitride as the protective layer because it is chemically and mechanically stable to lithium and has a high level of electrical insulation. The researchers designed boron nitride with holes inside it, through which lithium ions can pass, making it an excellent separator. In addition, the preparation of boron nitride by chemical vapor deposition is easy to produce a large-scale (decimeter-scale), atom-like thin-scale (nanoscale) continuous film.

Researchers are currently extending their methods to a variety of unstable solid electrolytes and further optimizing the interface, hoping to produce solid-state batteries with high performance and long cycle life.

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