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Making Graphene Oxide a Viable Battery Electrode

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 11:11AM

A great deal of research is currently being done into a variety of battery technologies, with the goal of making batteries for electric cars and even the power grid. Central to this work is finding the best materials for use as electrodes, and one material, graphite, has already been ruled out. However, Kansas State University researchers have discovered that graphene oxide, which graphite can be turned into, could be a very viable electrode.

Graphene oxide is effectively a defective version of graphene, as it is an insulator, but heating it can turn it into a conductor or a semiconductor. The Kansas researchers have found that heating it in the presence of the right gas can also make it a very good electrode for sodium- or lithium-ion batteries. The heating will turn graphene oxide into reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and by controlling the temperature the distance between the layers can be manipulated. It turns out that heating it to 500 ºC results in the maximum capacity of sodium-ions, while heating it to 900 ºC gives the greatest lithium-ion capacity. When tested with sodium-ions, it survived for over 1000 cycles.

Obviously this discovery could lead to more powerful batteries, but it will also lead to more research. There may be other discounted materials that could work as battery electrodes, if prepared differently or converted into something similar.

Source: Kansas State University

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