The research team of the Technische Universität Berlin led by Giuseppe Antonio Elia recently published a scientific article in the Journal of Applied Materials and Interfaces entitled Polyacrylonitrile separator for high-performance aluminum batteries with improved interface stability. More information here. Congratulations!
Abstract: 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 was discovered. The use of the PAN separator strongly affects the aluminum dissolution/deposition process, leading to a much homogenous deposition in respect to the 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 in respect 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.