Cold Sintering of Lithium Chemistries for Solid-State Energy Applications

James A I Watt

Background to my project

As people become increasingly dependant on portable electronics in their personal and professional lives, it is important to assess the quality of the storage devices they use.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries are the most widely used energy storage devices. These are found in our phones and watches, as well as in our vehicles and medical devices. They are all around us – but with prolonged use comes the increasing risk of mishandling and damage.

The problem I hope to solve

For example, lithium batteries when bent short-out and expand over time, before eventually rupturing and leaking the flammable solvents within. Similarly, puncturing the battery leads to the release of the solvent much faster.
There are solid-state cells on the market which make use of solid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions in place of the current liquid electrolytes. However, these are processed using high-energy thermal sintering methods at temperatures closer to 1000°C.

Aims of my research

I will investigate the mechanisms and produce similar solid-state electrolytes by a cold sintering route, which is not well understood at temperatures close to 150°C.
The aim is to vastly reduce energy input – without compromising too much on performance – and to make the processing of these materials more accessible.

Links

Find James A.I Watt’s LinkedIn profile here.

Supervisor

Professor Derek Sinclair

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Co-Supervisors

Dr Brant Walkley

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Lecturer