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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New materials engineering labs see early success

Argonne National Laboratory
Sept 14, 2011

After only a few months of work, a small group of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has successfully scaled up the production of a new molecule that protects advanced lithium-ion batteries from thermal overcharge.

When Argonne materials scientist Khalil Amine and chemists Zhengcheng Zhang and Lu Zhang invented a redox shuttle additive material known as 2,5-di-tert-butyl-1,4-bis(2-methoxyethoxy)benzene or DBBB, the amount of the molecule they produced was sufficient for scientific testing and validation at the laboratory bench scale. But their process yielded too little material—less than 1 gram—for a company that may be interested in licensing and manufacturing the material to validate and test.

Applied researchers in Argonne’s Advanced Battery Materials Synthesis and Manufacturing Research & Development Program took the formula and developed an improved, scalable process that created 1,576 grams in a single batch—enough to study and validate in a real battery cell, said Argonne's Greg Krumdick, a systems engineer whose team developed the scale-up process.
Scientists typically do not need large amounts of materials to work with, but companies that want to manufacture a new material do. And therein lay the challenge—it is critical for companies to test the viability of a new material they are looking to mass produce.
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