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Synthesis, Characterization and Performance Evaluation of an Advanced Solid Electrolyte and Air Cathode for Rechargeable Lithium-Air Batteries

DOI: 10.4236/msce.2016.41012, PP. 74-89

Keywords: Lithium-Air, Solid Electrolyte, Air Cathode, Button Cell, Metallic Lithium

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Abstract:

Synthesis and characterization of a tri-layered solid electrolyte and oxygen permeable solid air cathode for lithium-air battery cells were carried out in this investigation. Detailed fabrication procedures for solid electrolyte, air cathode and real-world lithium-air battery cell are described. Materials characterizations were performed through FTIR and TGA measurement. Based on the experimental four-probe conductivity measurement, it was found that the tri-layered solid electrolyte has a very high conductivity at room temperature, 23C, and it can be reached up to 6 times higher at 100C. Fabrication of real-world lithium-air button cells was performed using the synthesized tri-layered solid electrolyte, an oxygen permeable air cathode, and a metallic lithium anode. The lithium-air button cells were tested under dry air with 0.1 mA - 0.2 mA discharge/ charge current at elevated temperatures. Experimental results showed that the lithium-air cell performance is very sensitive to the oxygen concentration in the air cathode. The experimental results also revealed that the cell resistance was very large at room temperature but decreased rapidly with increasing temperatures. It was found that the cell resistance was the prime cause to show any significant discharge capacity at room temperature. Experimental results suggested that the lack of robust interfacial contact among solid electrolyte, air cathode and lithium metal anode were the primary factors for the cell’s high internal resistances. It was also found that once the cell internal resistance issues were resolved, the discharge curve of the battery cell was much smoother and the cell was able to discharge at above 2.0 V for up to 40 hours. It indicated that in order to have better performing lithium-air battery cell, interfacial contact resistances issue must have to be resolved very efficiently.

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