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Capillary Force Guided Nanomanufacturing of Composite Materials for Advanced Battery Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Cary L. Pint

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Paper No. IMECE2017-71738, pp. V002T02A073; 5 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5835-6
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This paper introduces the use of capillary thermodynamics as a powerful nanomanufacturing tool, and its specific application to infiltrate sulfur into 3-D nanostructured electrodes for advanced lithium-sulfur and/or sodium-sulfur battery development. The capillary effect specifically targets nucleation from the equilibrium vapor pressure of bulk sulfur (gas phase) onto nanoscale surfaces (liquid phase). This leads to condensates that nucleate and grow uniformly over the surface leading to self-limited and conformal composite materials moderated by the chemical potential driving force between the nanoscale nuclei and the bulk sulfur. Our studies show highly consistent and repeatable sulfur loading exceeding 80 wt.% sulfur, fast kinetics that can lead to full infiltration in ∼ 10 minutes, and synergy with pre-formed carbon materials including carbon nanotube arrays, carbon nanotube foams and sponges, and microporous carbons with pore sizes ∼ 0.5 nm. This overcomes challenges of scaling to high areal capacity in lithium-sulfur and sodium-sulfur batteries, and our results emphasize the highest reported areal capacities for solid-processed cathodes to date (> 19 mAh/cm2). This paves the route to batteries with energy density > 500 Wh/kg with reliable manufacturing processes that simultaneously sustain low cost and high throughput.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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