Improved Synthesis and Thermal Stability of Electrode-supported α-alumina Separator for Lithium Ion Batteries
Author: Sharma, Gaurav Rajpal (Author) / Lin, Jerry Y.S. (Advisor) / Chan, Candace (Committee member) / Kannan, Arunachala (Committee member) / Arizona State University (Publisher)
Published: August 2016
Lithium ion batteries have emerged as the most popular energy storage system, but they pose safety issues under extreme temperatures or in the event of a thermal runaway. Lithium ion batteries with inorganic separators offer the advantage of safer operation. An inorganic separator for lithium ion battery was prepared by an improved method of blade coating α-Al2O3 slurry directly on the electrode followed by drying. The improved separator preparation involves a twice-coating process instead of coating the slurry all at once in order to obtain a thin (~40 µm) and uniform coat. It was also found that α-Al2O3 powder with particle size greater than the pore size in the electrode is preferable for obtaining a separator with 40 µm thickness and consistent cell performance. Unlike state-of-the-art polyolefin separators such as polypropylene (PP) which are selectively wettable with only certain electrolytes, the excellent electrolyte solvent wettability of α-Al2O3 allows the coated alumina separator to function with different electrolytes. The coated α-Al2O3 separator has a much higher resistance to temperature effects than its polyolefin counterparts, retaining its dimensional integrity at temperatures as high as 200ºC. This eliminates the possibility of a short circuit during thermal runaway. Lithium ion batteries assembled as half-cells and full cells with coated α-Al2O3 separator exhibit electrochemical performance comparable with that of polyolefin separators at room temperature. However, the cells with coated alumina separator shows better cycling performance under extreme temperatures in the temperature range of -30°C to 60°C. Therefore, the coated α-Al2O3 separator is very promising for application in safe lithium-ion batteries.
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