Fabrication of high energy density tin/carbon anode using reduction expansion synthesis and aerosol through plasma techniques
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The aim of this study was to fabricate tin/carbon (Sn/C) battery anodes using a novel approach, reduction expansion synthesis (RES), and test their performance as electrodes in lithium or sodium batteries. A second preparation route, the Aerosol-Through-Plasma (ATP) method, was also employed for comparison. The specimens generated were characterized, before and after cycling, using techniques such as X-ray diffraction, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy. The RES technique was successful in creating remarkably small (ca. <5 nm) nano-scale particles of tin dispersed on the carbon support. The use of the electrodes as part of coin cell batteries resulted in capacitance values of 320 mAh/g and 110 mAh/g for lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries, respectively. Nano-sized Sn particles were found before and after cycling. It is believed that bonds between metal atoms and dangling carbon produced via the reduction of the carbon surface during RES were responsible for the materials' ability to withstand stresses during lithiation, avoid volumetric expansion, and prevent disintegration after hundreds of cycles. When tin loading in Sn/C was increased from 10% to 20%, an increase of capacitance from 280 mAh/g to 320mAh/g was observed; thus, increased tin loading is recommended for future studies. Tin/carbon produced using ATP presented morphology consistent with stable electrodes, although battery testing was not completed because of the difficulty of producing the material in sufficient quantity.
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