Research Papers

Experimental Studies of Carbon Electrodes With Various Surface Area for Li–O2 Batteries

[+] Author and Article Information
Fangzhou Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Kansas,
Lawrence, KS 66046
e-mail: fangzhouwang@ku.edu

P. K. Kahol

Department of Physics,
Pittsburg State University,
Pittsburg, KS 66762
e-mail: pkahol@pittstate.edu

Ram Gupta

Department of Chemistry,
Pittsburg State University,
Pittsburg, KS 66762
e-mail: rgupta@pittstate.edu

Xianglin Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Kansas,
Lawrence, KS 66046
e-mail: xianglinli@ku.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 22, 2018; final manuscript received March 17, 2019; published online April 12, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Leela Mohana Reddy Arava.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(4), 041007 (Apr 12, 2019) (7 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1114; doi: 10.1115/1.4043229 History: Received October 22, 2018; Accepted March 18, 2019

Li−O2 batteries with carbon electrodes made from three commercial carbons and carbon made from waste tea leaves are investigated in this study. The waste tea leaves are recycled from household tea leaves and activated using KOH. The carbon materials have various specific surface areas, and porous structures are characterized by the N2 adsorption/desorption. Vulcan XC 72 carbon shows a higher specific surface area (264.1 m2/g) than the acetylene black (76.5 m2/g) and Super P (60.9 m2/g). The activated tea leaves have an extremely high specific surface area of 2868.4 m2/g. First, we find that the commercial carbons achieve similar discharge capacities of ∼2.50 Ah/g at 0.5 mA/cm2. The micropores in carbon materials result in a high specific surface area but cannot help to achieve higher discharge capacity because it cannot accommodate the solid discharge product (Li2O2). Mixing the acetylene black and the Vulcan XC 72 improves the discharge capacity due to the optimized porous structure. The discharge capacity increases by 42% (from 2.73 ± 0.46 to 3.88 ± 0.22 Ah/g) at 0.5 mA/cm2 when the mass fraction of Vulcan XC 72 changes from 0 to 0.3. Second, the electrode made from activated tea leaves is demonstrated for the first time in Li−O2 batteries. Mixtures of activated tea leaves and acetylene black confirm that mixtures of carbon material with different specific surface areas can increase the discharge capacity. Moreover, carbon made from recycled tea leaves can reduce the cost of the electrode, making electrodes more economically achievable. This study practically enhances the discharge capacity of Li−O2 batteries using mixed carbons and provides a method for fabricating carbon electrodes with lower cost and better environmental friendliness.

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Fig. 1

The schematic of the Li−O2 battery [47,48]

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Fig. 2

Results of (a) BET specific surface area, (b) BJH pore size distribution of different carbon samples except for tea carbon, and (c) BJH pore size distribution of tea carbon

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Fig. 3

Isotherms of different carbon samples

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Fig. 4

SEM images of different carbon samples

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Fig. 5

Discharge capacities of Li−O2 batteries with electrodes coated by commercial carbons at 0.5 mA/cm2

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Fig. 6

Discharge capacities of Li−O2 batteries with electrodes coated by acetylene black, mixture_1, mixture_2, and mixture_3 at 0.5 mA/cm2 (mixture_1: 90% acetylene black + 10% Vulcan XC 72; mixture_2: 80% acetylene black + 20% Vulcan XC 72; mixture_3: 70% acetylene black + 30% Vulcan XC 72)

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Fig. 7

Discharge curves of Li−O2 batteries with activated tea leaves’ electrodes and mixtures at 0.1 mA/cm2

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Fig. 8

Discharge curves of Li−O2 batteries with activated tea leaves’ electrodes and commercial carbon electrodes at 0.5 mA/cm2



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