Dow Corning Toray has developed a new process for infusing carbon electrodes with silicon to help increase the current capacity of lithium ion batteries. While researchers have been working with silicon for some time, the results have been limited. The problem has been evenly distributing the silicon within the graphite material. Dow's new process involves burning a silicon-based polymer material in the presence of the graphite which disperses smaller silicon particles through more of the carbon.

The result is that the current capacity of the electrodes has been doubled to 650-800mAh/g. This would result in more current from smaller cells and packs. The cycle performance is also good because of the low thermal expansion of the carbon even when impregnated with silicon. This results in fewer cracks in the electrode to reduce the capacity. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of poor coulombic efficiency. That is the discharge capacity is only 70-80 percent of the charge capacity. Researchers are working on this problem and hope the process will result in improved automotive batteries.

[Source: TechOn]

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