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Effects of cell construction parameters on the performance of lithium/sulfur cells

  • Author(s): Song, MK
  • Zhang, Y
  • Cairns, EJ
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1002/aic.14947
Abstract

© 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Current lithium-ion batteries are predicted to be unable to provide the specific energy required to meet the ever-increasing demands of rapidly emerging technologies. Due to a high theoretical specific capacity of 1675 mAh/g, sulfur has gained much attention as a promising positive electrode material for high specific energy rechargeable batteries. Although the lithium/sulfur cell has been studied for many years and continues to receive much attention today as an alternative power source for zero-emission vehicles and advanced electronic devices, the realization of this novel cell's promise as a commercial product has yet to be successful. The major problems with sulfur electrodes involve: (1) the dissolution of sulfur (as polysulfides) and the resulting diffusion of dissolved polysulfides and (2) the deposition of insulating products (including Li2S) on both the negative and the positive electrodes. These solid deposits can physically block the electrode reaction sites, thus passivating the electrode surfaces. Another important problem is the large volume change that occurs with the conversion of S to Li2S. It is important to understand that the performance of Li/S cells is hampered by linked chemical and mechanical degradations and both degradation mechanisms must be correctly alleviated in order to markedly improve current-technology Li/S cells. In this study, improved cycling performance via the reactive functional groups on graphene oxide to successfully immobilize sulfur and lithium polysulfides during operation has been demonstrated. The use of a new electrolyte and binder leads to improved cell performance in terms of high-rate capability (up to at least 2 C) and good reversibility (S ↔ Li2S), yielding at least 800 cycles have also been demonstrated.

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