Understand how aqueous zinc rechargeable batteries work

As scientists hoped that rechargeable zinc-manganese dioxide batteries could become a viable alternative for networked storage applications, engineers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and their colleagues identified the mechanism charge and discharge atomistics in these batteries.

The scientists came to this conclusion after taking advantage of advanced electron microscopy, electrochemical experiments and theoretical calculations to take a closer look at how the zinc anode works with the manganese cathode in the battery system.

Their findings are reported in Natural durability.

“Zinc and manganese separately have very favorable properties for long-lasting, high-quality batteries; however, when combined in a complete system, their intercalation – their rechargeability – is questionable, with some recent studies suggesting that the insertion and deinsertion of zinc in manganese dioxide is responsible for cell rechargeability,” said the study’s lead author, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar, UIC. Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the College of Engineering. “With this study, we have shown that there is in fact no microscopic evidence for the reinsertion of zinc into manganese dioxide, and what were previously thought to be indicators of recharge came from positively charged hydrogen ions. inserted into manganese, not zinc.”

In their experiments, the researchers constructed aqueous zinc-manganese dioxide cells and tested them for 100 cycles. They discharged and attempted to recharge batteries in experiments while using electron microscopy to capture atomic-level images of reactions.

“We have seen that hydrogen is responsible for the damage to manganese dioxide tunnel structures, further reducing the battery’s recharging potential,” Shahbazian-Yassar said. “The information we obtained from these experiments reveals important atomic insights into the mechanisms of the zinc-manganese battery. Now that we know what’s going on at the cellular level, we have a compass for finding better strategies.

Shahbazian-Yassar said different cellular structures could make the system more favorable for zinc insertion or perhaps strategies for harnessing hydrogen protons.

The article, titled “Understanding Intercalation Chemistry for Durable Aqueous Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Batteries,” is co-authored by Yifei Yuan, Kun He, Mahmoud Tamadoni Saray, Wentao Yao, and Meng Cheng of UIC; and Ryan Sharpe, Chenghang Li, Tongchao Liu, Hule Kin, Shun Wang, Khalil Amine, Mr. Saiful Islam and Jun Lu from partner institutions. Partner institutions include Wenzhou University, University of Bath, Argonne National Laboratory and University of Oxford.

– This press release was originally published on the University of Illinois at Chicago website