Samsung researchers have developed a new type of battery material they call 'graphene ball'. They say the technology could enable a 45 percent increase in battery capacity, and five times faster charging speeds. The wonder material graphene is an allotrope of carbon, and has been looked at for years as an alternative to silicon and other forms of carbon in everything from processors to batteries. It looks like Samsung has found a promising potential application for it.
The graphene ball battery material can be used in next-generation secondary battery market, Samsung said in a press release, with mobile devices and electric vehicles some of the avenues for development. The material was developed by researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), in collaboration with Samsung SDI and the Seoul National University's School of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Samsung said in theory, graphene ball-based batteries require only 12 minutes to fully charge - which could be revolutionary for both mobile devices and electric vehicles. The company adds that compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries, graphene ball-based batteries are much more cool running and can maintain a stable temperature of 60-degrees Celsius. It points out that "stable battery temperatures [are] particularly key for electric vehicles."
The company in its press release added, "In its research, SAIT sought for an approach to apply graphene, a material with high strength and conductivity to batteries, and discovered a mechanism to mass synthesise graphene into a 3D form like popcorn using affordable silica (SiO2). This 'graphene ball' was utilised for both the anode protective layer and cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries. This ensured an increase of charging capacity, decrease of charging time as well as stable temperatures."
Dr. Son In-hyuk, who led the project on behalf of SAIT, said, "Our research enables mass synthesis of multifunctional composite material graphene at an affordable price. At the same time, we were able to considerably enhance the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries in an environment where the markets for mobile devices and electric vehicles is growing rapidly. Our commitment is to continuously explore and develop secondary battery technology in light of these trends."
SAIT has published its research results in the Nature Communications journal, in an article titled: Graphene balls for lithium rechargeable batteries with fast charging and high volumetric energy densities. SAIT also said it has filed two applications for the graphene ball patent in the US and Korea.