Rubber could revolutionize electric car batteries

Researchers have succeeded in creating batteries for electric cars that are safer, more ecological, and with better capacity. Their secret? A rubber electrolyte.

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The most common type of battery is the lithium-ion battery. Several technologies are in the running to replace it.

the rubber, an electrical insulator, is not the first material which comes to mind to improve the functioning of batteries. Yet this is what researchers have chosen to use Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA. In their article published in the journal Nature, they explain how they managed to create a state-of-the-art battery solid rubber based.

The batteries lithium-ion usually use an electrolyte liquid who can take fire if they overheat or are damaged. Moreover, over time they form dendrites which reduce performance. Conversely, the batteries in the solid state are more fragile and the contact of the solid electrolyte with the electrodes problematic.

Solid state batteries with high energy density

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The researchers therefore used an elastomer to replace the electrolyte. Through a process of polymerization at low temperatures, they managed to create crystals plastics interconnected in the rubber structure. This creates an electrolyte with a conductivity high ionic and electrochemical stability, which does not form dendrites while ensuring good contact with the surface of the two electrodes.

Such batteries would be more stable and safe, better for the environment and cheaper to produce. This technology is primarily intended for electric cars and manages to achieve an energy density of more than 410 watt hours per kilogram, compared to about 260 watt-hours per kilogram for car batteries Tesla. The batteries based on rubber could therefore greatly increase the range of electric cars.

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