Researchers from IISER, Temple University make models
Pune: Almost every alternate day we get a message on social media groups cautioning us not to talk over the cell phone when it is in charging mode. The reason being it is inflammable and may cause damage. But now this worry will soon end, as a group of researchers from Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) in collaboration with a team of faculty and research from Temple University, USA has come up with more safer, compact and stable batteries.
Talking to Sakal Times, computational chemist and Associate Professor of IISER, Arun Venkatnathan said, “We are concentrating on the electrolyte responsible for overall working of the battery by conducting ions from one end to the other while charging and discharging (electrolytes are responsible for conducting electricity in a battery).
“Our cell phones have lithium-ion polymer batteries. We are trying to find a material to replace the polymer so that it becomes more efficient and can withstand varied temperature windows. This will also ensure longer battery life besides improving the safety of the cell phones,” he said.
“We have made the models using the supercomputer through computer simulations,” he said adding that the researchers from the experimental groups of Dr Michael Zdilla and Dr Stephanie Wunder at Temple University Philadelphia, USA, sought to develop materials for safer and better batteries.
The team from Temple University earlier synthesised a new class of soft-solid electrolytes based on LiCl.DMF (Dimethylformamide), which exhibits conduction properties comparable to existing electrolytes but with less volatile medium DMF which makes these electrolytes safer to use, he said.
“Likewise, the cell batteries sometimes fail to work in extreme conditions like very hot or in water. Sometimes they explode. These issues pose a significant challenge to the field of energy conversion and storage,” Venkatnathan said.
Using computer simulations, the probed conduction at the surface was found to be 10 times higher compared to bulk. Theoretical calculations predicted decomposition of smaller aggregates, such as those expected in the liquid-like surface, to be more facile than larger aggregates that are more likely to be found in the crystal interior. These results explain how a new generation of battery electrolytes more reliable would work,” he said.
The research work is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2018, 6:4394-4404) and is titled ‘Unravelling the structural and dynamical complexity of the equilibrium liquid grain-binding layer in highly conductive organic crystalline electrolytes’ and is authored by Prabhat Prakash, Jordan Aguirre, Megan M Van Vliet, Parameswara Rao Chinnam, Dmitriy A Dikin, Michael J Zdilla, Stephanie L Wunder and Arun Venkatnathan.