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Polyacrylonitrile Separator for High-Performance Aluminum Batteries with Improved Interface Stability

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journal contribution
posted on 18.10.2017 by Giuseppe Antonio Elia, Jean-Baptiste Ducros, Dane Sotta, Virginie Delhorbe, Agnès Brun, Krystan Marquardt, Robert Hahn
Herein we report, for the first time, an overall evaluation of commercially available battery separators to be used for aluminum batteries, revealing that most of them are not stable in the highly reactive 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride:aluminum trichloride (EMIMCl:AlCl3) electrolyte conventionally employed in rechargeable aluminum batteries. Subsequently, a novel highly stable polyacrylonitrile (PAN) separator obtained by the electrospinning technique for application in high-performance aluminum batteries has been prepared. The developed PAN separator has been fully characterized in terms of morphology, thermal stability, and air permeability, revealing its suitability as a separator for battery applications. Furthermore, extremely good compatibility and improved aluminum interface stability in the highly reactive EMIMCl:AlCl3 electrolyte were discovered. The use of the PAN separator strongly affects the aluminum dissolution/deposition process, leading to a quite homogeneous deposition compared to that of a glass fiber separator. Finally, the applicability of the PAN separator has been demonstrated in aluminum/graphite cells. The electrochemical tests evidence the full compatibility of the PAN separator in aluminum cells. Furthermore, the aluminum/graphite cells employing the PAN separator are characterized by a slightly higher delivered capacity compared to those employing glass fiber separators, confirming the superior characteristics of the PAN separator as a more reliable separator for the emerging aluminum battery technology.