batterieslifetime

The future of batteries is here: lithium-ion batteries that never go dead

In our future supercharged world, the demand for battery storage is expected to be immense, reaching upwards of 2 to 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual battery production by 2030, from less than 0.5 TWh today. However, concerns are mounting as to whether key raw materials will meet this future demand. The lithium-ion r battery – the dominant technology for the foreseeable future – has a component made of cobalt and nickel, and those two metals face critical supply shortages on the global market.

After several years of research, a specialized Berkeley Lab has made significant progress in developing battery cathodes using a new class of materials that provide batteries with the same if not higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion batteries but can be made of inexpensive and abundant metals. Known as DRX, which stands for disordered rock salts with excess lithium, this novel family of materials was created less than ten years ago and allowed cathodes to be made without nickel or cobalt.

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Focus

In our future amazed world, the demand for battery storage is projected to be enormous, reaching to upwards of 2 to 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual battery production by 2030, from less than 0.5 TWh today. Nevertheless, issues are growing regarding whether crucial basic materials will be adequate to meet this future need. The lithium-ion battery – the dominant technology for the foreseeable future – has actually a component made from cobalt and nickel, and those two metals deal with severe supply constraints on the international market.

Now, after numerous years of research led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), scientists have made considerable progress in establishing battery cathodes using a new class of products that supply batteries with the same if not higher energy density than standard lithium-ion batteries but can be made from low-cost and abundant metals. Called DRX, which means disordered rocksalts with excess lithium, this unique family of products was developed less than 10 years back and enables cathodes to be made without nickel or cobalt.

The classic lithium-ion battery has served us well, but as we consider future needs for energy storage, its dependence on particular important minerals exposes us not only to supply-chain risks, but also environmental and social concerns. This provides lithium batteries the possibility to be the structure for sustainable battery technologies for the future.

The cathode is among the two electrodes in a battery and represent more than one-third of the expense of a battery. Presently the cathode in lithium-ion batteries uses a class of products referred to as NMC, with nickel, manganese, and cobalt as the key ingredients.

With the current NMC class, which is limited to simply nickel, cobalt, and an inactive component made of manganese, the timeless lithium-ion battery is at the end of its efficiency curve unless you transfer to brand-new cathode materials, which’s what the DRX program deals. DRX products have enormous compositional versatility – and this is very effective due to the fact that not only can you utilize all sort of abundant metals in a DRX cathode, but you can also use any type of metal to repair any problem that might come up throughout the early stages of developing new batteries. That’s why we’re so fired up.

Cobalt and nickel supply-chain threats

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made it a top priority to find ways to minimize or get rid of the use of cobalt in batteries. “The battery market is dealing with an enormous resource crunch,” said Ceder. “Even at 2 TWh, the lower range of international demand projections, that would consume almost all of today’s nickel production, and with cobalt we’re not even close. Cobalt production today is just about 150 kilotons, and 2 TWh of battery power would need 2,000 kilotons of nickel and cobalt in some mix.”

What’s more, over two-thirds of the world’s nickel production is presently utilized to make stainless-steel. And majority of the world’s production of cobalt originates from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with Russia, Australia, the Philippines, and Cuba rounding out the leading 5 producers of cobalt.

On the other hand, DRX cathodes can use just about any metal in place of nickel and cobalt. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have actually focused on using manganese and titanium, which are both more plentiful and lower cost than nickel and cobalt.

Manganese oxide and titanium oxide expense less than $1 per kg whereas cobalt expenses about $45 per kg and nickel about $18. With DRX you have the possible to make really low-cost energy storage. At that point lithium-ion becomes unequalled and can be used all over – for lorries, the grid – and we can truly make energy storage abundant and economical.

Ordered vs. disordered

Ceder and his team established DRX materials in 2014. In batteries, the number and speed of lithium ions able to take a trip into the cathode translates into how much energy and power the battery has. In standard cathodes, lithium ions travel through the cathode product along well-defined pathways and organize themselves in between the transition metal atoms (normally cobalt and nickel) in neat, orderly layers.

What Ceder’s group found was that a cathode with a disordered atomic structure might hold more lithium – which suggests more energy – while enabling a larger series of components to function as the shift metal. They likewise found out that within that mayhem, lithium ions can easily hop around.

In 2018, the Vehicle Technologies Office in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offered financing for Berkeley Lab to take a “deep dive” into DRX products. In collaboration with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley Lab groups led by Ceder and Guoying Chen have actually made significant progress in enhancing DRX cathodes in lithium-ion batteries.

For example, the charge rate – or how fast the battery can charge – of these materials was initially extremely low, and its stability was also bad. The research group has actually discovered methods to deal with both of these problems through modeling and experimentation. Research studies on utilizing fluorination to improve stability have been published in Advanced Functional Materials and Advanced Energy Materials; research study on how to allow a high charging rate was recently released in Nature Energy.

Given that DRX can be made with several elements, the researchers have also been dealing with which aspect would be best to utilize, striking the sweet area of being plentiful, low-cost, and providing great efficiency. “DRX has now been manufactured with nearly the entire table of elements,” Ceder stated.

This is science at its finest – basic discoveries that will serve as the bedrock of systems in future houses, lorries, and grids. What has made Berkeley Lab so successful in battery innovation for years now is our combination of breadth and depth of know-how – from essential discovery to characterization, synthesis, and manufacturing, as well as energy markets and policy research. Partnership is crucial – we partner with market and beyond to fix real-world problems, which in turn assists galvanize the world-leading science we do at the Lab.

Quick progress


New battery materials have generally taken 15 to 20 years to commercialize; Ceder believes progress on DRX materials can be accelerated with a larger team. “We’ve made terrific progress in the last three years with the deep dive,” Ceder stated. “We’ve pertained to the conclusion that we’re ready for a bigger group, so we can involve individuals with a more varied set of skills to really refine this.”

An expanded research group could move quickly to deal with the staying concerns, including enhancing the cycle life (or the number of times the battery can be recharged and discharged over its life time) and enhancing the electrolyte, the chemical medium that enables the circulation of electrical charge between the cathode and anode. Given that being established in Ceder’s laboratory, groups in Europe and Japan have also launched big DRX research study programs.

Advances in battery innovations and energy storage will require continued breakthroughs in the essential science of products. Berkeley Lab’s knowledge, distinct facilities, and abilities in sophisticated imaging, calculation, and synthesis allow us to study products at the scale of atoms and electrons. We are well poised to accelerate the development of promising materials like DRX for clean energy.

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Troy Explains: The difference between epoxy, polyurethane, and resin

Today we’re going to cover lot’s of scientific words such as resin, polyurethane and epoxy. You will probably have lots of questions like are they the same thing? Are they not the same thing? What’s your thing and how does ArmorThane fit into this? What about polyester? Is polyester a thing? I don’t know but i am going to answer all of these questions…

Let’s jump in!

We have resin. That’s the huge overarching term. There are organic resins, things like gums that trees produce. We’re not talking about that.

We’re talking about synthetic resins. That’s what you know and love underneath resin. We have thermal plastics and then thermosetting plastics. So thermoplastics, things that can be melted or injection molded or formed, things like acrylic, Delran stuff you probably don’t deal with. Plus we covered these terms in our last post.

So let’s ignore them! 

So thermal setting plastics are usually liquid one or two parts that become solid and stay solid. They don’t meltdown. That’s where we find our good old friends, polyester epoxy and polyurethane.

PU vs Epoxy: What's the Difference and Which Is Best for You?

Let’s quickly go through each. So polyester resin was one of the first synthetic resins that we came up with. And to be honest, it wasn’t that great. It’s brittle now. It’s just using boats with a bunch of fiberglasses to reinforce it. So let’s move on. 

Next was epoxy. Hey, that word sounds familiar. A pox, a type of resin wonder that that’s much stronger, much more solid. We enjoy that!

But it just becomes a hard plastic one time. And that’s it. Not a lot of variety. They’re perfect for river tables, tumblers. 

You know this stuff. You love it. Come on. 

After epoxy, they invented polyurethane. This is much more versatile. It can be foam. It can be rubber. It can be hard plastic. This stuff is wild and crazy ArmorThane that you use in your truck bed. That’s polyurethane.

Some of the phones that you have in cushions and seats are polyurethane woodturning bulls. And Penlington, the beautiful clarity of clear sloth. That’s polyurethane. I know what you’re saying.

Troy, you don’t care about science. All right. No big deal. That’s enough of that. Let’s jump into two things. Epoxy and polyurethane. Why and when you should use each one of them. It’s been all right. So for categories, I want to talk about his products, time, moisture, and ease of use.

Epoxy Resin Coverage Calculator: How Much Epoxy Will I Need?

Those are the huge, huge main differences between epoxy and urethane. So let’s jump into each so the products that are epoxy products of ours, you’re going to recognize these amazing clear cast, the new amazing clear cast plus and the even newer, amazing deep or all of those are poxes. So the time aspect of epoxy is it has a pretty linear, a pretty steady here schedule. That’s why when you’re mixing up a batch of epoxy, you have a thirty-five to forty-minute open time, and then you have a cure time of about twenty-four hours and then a full cure of about five to seven days.

It’s linear; it’s pretty steady. That’s very normal. It can still be a shorter time, like a quick coat or a much longer time. Like an amazing or, but it’s pretty linear now when it comes to poxes and moisture. No big deal. They don’t mind it. If you’re doing a woodworking project where epoxy is going directly onto the wood painting, use epoxy, it has a much higher tolerance for that type of moisture in the last category, ease of use for epoxy, there is a high tolerance.

What I mean by high tolerance, it’s forgiving. All right. A little bit of an ounce off here, there is a larger batch, or I’m not sure if I got everything mixed perfectly, perfectly. It’s still going to harden up. It’s still going to be fine. Now, what about Urethane coating? Well, a couple of different things here as far as products go. This is clear Slowes RC is another popular one. Flex, Flex Rubber’s, our flex foams.

There’s a ton of urethane products we have. They’re amazing. Let’s talk about their cure schedule, their cure time. What happens in that? Well, usually, with urethane, we have a lot more variables. We can change, and we can manipulate things accordingly. So what you’ll see is nothing happening, nothing going on. Nothing’s happened. Suddenly it’s cured. I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry. So these things cure quickly, usually on a short schedule.

So you’ll be going steady, and then bam, it’s cured, or you’re going pretty steady, and then really quickly it’s cured fast. That’s why we suggested woodturning applications because you can pour a blank, get it in the pressure. Part D demoed it in ninety minutes and got going with an epoxy. It’s a little bit harder. Here’s the thing, though, as much as we love how fast those things kick back, not a fan of moisture. I could put a little drop of water into your thing, and it would start to foam.

So should you use this within woodworking projects? No, not unless your wood is completely stabilized. Now, as far as ease of use of your Thain’s, well, there are a little less forgiving there. You are still forgiving, but a little bit less. That’s why you’re often going to see on the labels one to one by weight or two to one by weight. This is a little bit more of exact science, and you got to pay attention to it.

All right. So there you go. Hopefully, that clears much information about the world of resins and the epoxy world within that, and the polyurethane world within that, and the polyester resin world. It’s a lot. I know. Let us know if you want me to do another one of these. I’ll go even deeper to the extent.

Visit ArmorThane to learn how you can purchase and use these amazing chemicals!

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What’s the difference between thermosetting and thermoplastic polyurethane?

I have been seeing this and getting this question a lot from you readers as well as on message boards and facebook groups, so i figured i would take a little time and write up an answer for anyone looking.

Thermoset vs Thermoplastic

Thermosets are materials that undergo a chemical reaction (curing) and normally transform from a liquid to a solid. In its uncured form, the material has small, unlinked molecules (known as monomers). The addition of a second material (cross-linker, curing agent, catalyst) and the presence of heat or some other activating influences will initiate the chemical reaction (curing reaction).

How does a thermo-plastic or a thermosetting resin or plastic, differ from  each other? - Quora

The molecules cross-link and form significantly longer molecular chains and cross-link networks during this reaction, causing the material to solidify. This change is permanent and irreversible. Subsequently, exposure to high heat will cause the material to degrade, not melt. This is because these materials typically degrade at a temperature below where they would be able to meet.

Examples Of Thermosetting And Thermoplastics Materials. | Download Table


Thermoplastics are melt-process-able plastics (materials that are processed with heat). When enough heat is added to bring the temperature of the plastic above its melting point, the plastic liquefies (softens enough to be processed). When the heat source is removed and the temperature of the plastic drops below its melting point, the plastic solidifies back into a glass-like solid.

This process can be repeated, with the plastic melting and solidifying as the temperature climbs above and drops below the melting temperature, respectively. However, the material can be increasingly subject to deterioration in its molten state, so there is a practical limit to the number of times that this reprocessing can occur before material properties begin to suffer. Many thermoplastic polymers are addition-type, yielding very long molecular chain lengths (very high molecular weights).


As mentioned above, thermoplastics are capable of being repeatedly softened by the application of heat and hardened by cooling and have the potential to be the most easily recycled, which has seen them most favored in recent commercial uptake. In contrast, the better realization of the fiber properties is generally achieved using thermosets.
DSC can be a good tool to determine if it melts and can re-melt thermoplastic or just Tg (example) for thermoset.

Hopefully I have answered your questions regarding thermosetting and thermoplastic polyurethane. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to comment below and I will be glad to answer any you might have.