Crushed silicon powder could lead to improved longevity in electric car batteries

Silicon powder lithium-ion

The secret to boosting longevity of lithium-ion batteries is crushed silicon powder, according to research from Rice University. Experts have long sought to incorporate silicon into rechargeable batteries — anodes made of silicon can hold up to 10 times the number of lithium ions held in traditional, graphite-based anodes. But when used this way, silicon expands during the charging process only to shrink once unplugged; these frequent shifts in size ultimately cause it to quickly break down.

That presents a problem when the goal is to build long-lasting batteries like those found in electric vehicles. Experts at Rice had previously attempted to solve this by stamping pores into silicon film, allowing more room for that growth in…

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