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Like Water for Batteries: Pitt team finds water ‘likeability’ plays a role in battery-charged objects


Contact:  B. Rose Huber , 412-624-4356

PITTSBURGH  (July 29, 2013) ... Objects made from graphite-such as lithium-ion batteries-are "hydrophobic," meaning that they "dislike" water. For decades this lack of likeability has presented significant challenges in terms of building more durable technological devices made with graphite-until now.

It appears that past samples of graphite were likely contaminated by air, causing the samples to appear hydrophobic, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. The Pitt team has demonstrated-for the first time-these materials are actually intrinsically attracted to water or "hydrophilic." The findings,  published in Nature Materials , have particular implications for lithium-ion batteries and super capacitors, as both battery types are built from these materials. 

"This work could change the fundamental understanding of the surface properties of these materials," said  Lei Li, PhD , co-lead author of the paper and an assistant professor within Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering. "These findings hold implications for producing stronger, more durable batteries. And, hopefully, it will also be important to the fabrication of devices in various nanotechnology areas."

Read the full news release at Pitt's Office of University News.


Contact: Paul Kovach