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Decorating β″-alumina solid-state electrolyte with submicron Pb spherical particles to overcome liquid-solid interface resistance

Abstract

Overcoming the interface resistance is one of the most critical hurdles for batteries using solid-state electrolytes. In particular, overpotential from the liquid-solid interface between molten sodium and β″-alumina solid-state electrolyte (BASE) in a sodium-metal halide (Na-MH) battery could be enormous at lower operating temperatures (<200°C) due to intrinsically poor Na wetting on the BASE surface. In this work, we describe how surface modification by lead acetate trihydrate (LAT) at different temperatures affects Na wetting on the BASEs. LAT treatment conducted at a temperature of 400°C (under nitrogen gas atmosphere) shows significantly better Na wettability and battery performance than treatments at lower temperatures. The formation of a unique morphology—submicron-size Pb spherical particles—is observed on the surface of BASE LAT treated at 400°C. We also observed an evolution of the Na wetting configuration from Cassie drop, to Wenzel drop, and finally to sunny-side-up drop, which are clearly different from Young-Dupré relation, as increasing the contact-angle measurement temperature. We conclude that formation of a thin Na penetrating film (sunny-side-up shape) on Pb-decorated BASEs is crucial for achieving good battery performance at lower operating temperatures. The new observations and fundamental understanding of Na wetting reported here will provide excellent guidance for reducing the liquid-solid interface resistance in general, and will further promote development of practical Na-MH battery technologies for large-scale energy storage applications.

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Jul 2018, accepted on 07 Sep 2018 and first published on 11 Sep 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA06745G
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Decorating β″-alumina solid-state electrolyte with submicron Pb spherical particles to overcome liquid-solid interface resistance

    H. Chang, X. Lu, J. F. Bonnett, N. L. Canfield, K. S. Han, M. H. Engelhard, K. Jung, V. L. Sprenkle and G. Li, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8TA06745G

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