Phase-Inversion Polymer Composite Separators Based on Hexagonal Boron Nitride Nanosheets for High-Temperature Lithium-Ion Batteries

Ana C.M. De Moraes, Woo Jin Hyun, Norman S. Luu, Jin Myoung Lim, Kyu Young Park, Mark C. Hersam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

By preventing electrical contact between anode and cathode electrodes while promoting ionic transport, separators are critical components in the safe operation of rechargeable battery technologies. However, traditional polymer-based separators have limited thermal stability, which has contributed to catastrophic thermal runaway failure modes that have conspicuously plagued lithium-ion batteries. Here, we describe the development of phase-inversion composite separators based on carbon-coated hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) nanosheets and poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymers that possess high porosity, electrolyte wettability, and thermal stability. The carbon-coated hBN nanosheets are obtained through a scalable liquid-phase shear exfoliation method using ethyl cellulose as a polymer stabilizer and source of the carbon coating following thermal pyrolysis. When incorporated within the PVDF matrix, the carbon-coated hBN nanosheets promote favorable interfacial interactions during the phase-inversion process, resulting in porous, flexible, free-standing composite separators. The unique chemical composition of these carbon-coated hBN separators implies high wettability for a wide range of liquid electrolytes. This combination of high porosity and electrolyte wettability enables enhanced ionic conductivity and lithium-ion battery electrochemical performance that exceeds incumbent polyolefin separators over a wide range of operating conditions. The hBN nanosheets also impart high thermal stability, providing safe lithium-ion battery operation up to 120 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8107-8114
Number of pages8
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hexagonal boron nitride
  • lithium-ion battery
  • phase-inversion
  • polymer composite
  • separator

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