Graphene foam, a promising material for controlling battery temperature

Graphene © Shutterstock.com

Benefiting from an insulator in winter and a conductor in summer, such is the objective of research around graphene foam for the batteries of electric cars. The challenge is to protect this essential component from potential temperature-related degradation.

When the winter is cold and the thermometer indicates negative temperatures or, during the summer, when heat peaks lead to more than 45 degrees, the battery can degrade. And graphene foam could well compensate for this.

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In the Nordic countries (and not only) where the temperature frequently drops below zero degrees in winter, while in the desert corners, one can exceed 50 degrees, the preservation of the car battery to the best of its capacities is complicated.

This does not appreciate the large temperature variations, which can accelerate the degradation of some of these components and limit the efficiency of the conservation of electricity within it, reducing de facto vehicle autonomy. Researchers at Purdue University (United States) have looked into the question and have worked on a study on graphene foam. Published in the newspaper NatureCommunicationsthis looks promising.

Graphene foam could thus play an effective role as a switch. At a thickness of 1.2 mm, it becomes an effective insulator thanks to the air pockets contained within it, while at 0.2 mm thickness, it would be a heat conductor nearly eight times more effective. What allow, in the first case, to maintain an ambient temperature for the battery in winter thanks to the expansion of the foam and, in the second, to evacuate an overflow of heat in summer thanks to its contraction.

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Maintain batteries at room temperature

Study co-author Amy Marconnet compares the role of graphene foam to that of a “ resistance in an electrical circuit and adds: ” Instead of varying the amount of current, it varies the amount of heat it lets through. »

Graphene foam, composed of sheets of carbon one atom thick, seems to be the key according to Xiulin Ruan, the other co-author of the study: “ Most devices use passive thermal management, such as conduction and convection, to move excess heat away. But this system is neither tunable nor adjustable, and does not help in cold weather. »

Tested in two scenarios, the graphene foam was first placed between a radiator and a heat sink. Then, it was put to the test at temperatures between 0 and 30 degrees Celsius, on a heat source comparable to that of a battery.

Enough to allow efficient use both on the batteries of electronic devices such as computers and telephones, but also on those fitted to electric vehicles. In the case of a lithium-ion battery, the recommendation for use is between 0 and 45 degrees Celsius. A product as versatile as graphene foam would therefore, if the results are confirmed, have its place entirely alongside batteries.

Source : NewAtlas

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