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‘Laxatives’ may ease challenge of lithium-ion alternative

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP02_10
Published January 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
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  • English

The R&D dimension of the automotive industry often reveals novel solutions and cross-linking between materials, but a team of international scientists has come up with something truly unusual: boosting supercapacitor power and efficiency using newly developed “laxatives.” It's all about developing improved electrolytes as part of a program to enhance supercapacitor performance, making them more practical with enhanced energy storage for use in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

To do this, the team designed a new class of detergents involving the use of self-assembled nanostructures in detergent-like ionic liquids (IL), to facilitate improved charge storage at electrified interfaces. These detergents are chemically similar to human laxatives, said Dr. Gavin Hazell, a chemistry lecturer at the University of Chester's Faculty of Science and Engineering, and a member of the international team: “A discovery of this kind utilizes scientists from across the globe. We have a very diverse set of skills including synthetic chemistry, advanced structural, microscopy and computational methods.”