We propose to develop flexible, robust and corrosion-resistant nanocarbon current collector for aqueous battery applications. The nanocarbon film made of functionalized few-walled carbon nanotubes (FWNTs) and polymers is highly conductive, thin and mechanically strong. FWNTs will be grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) with powder catalysis. The nanocarbon film can be fabricated with scalable processes. FWNTs allow us to selectively functionalize the outer walls without decrease the high conductivity inner walls, much better than single-walled carbon nanotubes. We will investigate two structures; one is polymer on FWNTs (P-on-NT) and the other one is FWNT on thin polymer textile fibers (NT-on-P). In both types of FWNT-polymer films, the nanotubes contact each other directly for fast charge transport. The polymers crosslinked with FWNTs provide enough mechanical strength and stability in aqueous electrolytes. The use of FWNTs and the unique structure will allow us to achieve both high DC conductivity and excellent mechanical strength, which are critical for current collector applications but not available yet.
We will also investigate the nanocarbon films as current collectors in aqueous batteries with different pHs, using Pb acid and NiMH batteries as the two testbeds. We will study the DC conductivity, mechanical strength and ampacity in both dry and wet films.
The newly developed nanocarbon current collectors can be applied to a range of aqueous batteries and be extended to other battery chemistries.
This is a one-year, $250K grant.