Problems Facing Silicon Carbon Material System
It has a theoretically very high capacity for lithium insertion, approximately ten times higher than carbon. Additionally, silicon has many advantages, including a low cost charging platform, abundant resources, and low costs. In addition to its poor electronic conductivity and ionic conductivity silicon can cause large volume changes (>400%) in lithium deintercalation. This could lead to the material being pulverized, losing electrical contact with current collectors and conductive agents, as well as rapid capacity decline. Additionally, silicon’s unstable solid electrolyte membrane interface (SEI) severely restricts its life span.
The expansion and contraction in silicon causes the SEI coating to deform and crack. As a result, it is possible for the SEI movie on exposed silicon surfaces to become thicker and more difficult to absorb lithium. The selection of small-sized silicon particles may be able to reduce material powdering or decrease attenuation. However nanoparticles can easily agglomerate, and they have no apparent effect on the thickness of the SEI films. Therefore, its electrochemical performance must be enhanced. The current silicon anode tech focuses on solving two key problems during the charge-discharge process: “volume expansion” or “conductivity.” The current trend in anodes development is that carbon materials are essential for silicon anodes, both as buffer and conductive layers.
It is possible to improve the electrochemical performance by altering the manufacturing process as well as the morphology. The nanometerization process for the production of elemental silica anode can dramatically increase the material’s performance. To reduce production costs of nanosilicon materials and stabilize silicon’s SEI films, many materials have high intrinsic conductivity that can be compounded with them. Carbon materials have the ability to improve conductivity and stabilize the SEI film at the anode’s surface.
Modern electronic devices require both energy density and life expectancy to be met by one carbon or another silicon material. It is easier to mix the carbon and silicon materials through different ways, due to their similar chemical characteristics. A composite of silicon and carbon material is able to combine their strengths and make up for any deficiencies. This creates a new material with a significant increase in gram density and cycle life.
Additionally, the goal of increasing the ionic conductivity rather than electronic conductivity is achieved by reducing the particles of electrode materials. As the particles are smaller, the path of diffusion for lithium ions is shorter. The lithium ion will be more able to take part in the electrochemical reactions during charge and discharge. Two main methods of improving electronic conductivity are available. The first is coating with conductive materials. The second is doping by producing mixed valence state, which can improve intrinsic conductivity.
Carbon Coated Silicon Material
Researchers have created a strategy to utilize carbon to cover silicon to create a negative electrode for lithium battery cells. Research has shown that carbon coated silicon increases its ability to withstand high temperatures. These methods include CVD, Hydrothermal Method and Coating various carbon precursors with silicon particles. They prepared an array silicon nanowires from silicon plates by using metal catalytic etching. After that, carbon aerogel was used to coat the surface with carbon. Pyrolysis followed. The nanocomposite has a discharge potential of up to 3,344mAh/g and a reversible power capacity of 1,326mAh/g after 40 cycles. Excellent electrochemical performance is possible due to the excellent electronic contact between silicon-carbon material and the conductivity of those materials. Also, the efficient inhibition of silicon’s volume expansion by carbon materials makes the material very conductive.
The Development Opportunities
This carbon-coated silica material is ideal for lithium batteries. It combines both the stability and conductivity of carbon with the benefits of silicon.
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