Maximilian Cobos ’21 IUPUI – REI Mechanical Engineering – Throughout this 21’st century, technology has become more effective, efficient, and electrical based. With scientists trying to turn away from the use of fossil fuels, the need for batteries or rather, rechargeable batteries, has never been stronger. While making efficient, small, high energy rechargeable batteries is a large task in and of itself, making a flexible rechargeable battery with the same specifications is a whole other feat. A flexible rechargeable battery with a small size and high energy density would enable scientists and engineers more freedom to fabricate devices where the batteries position could be manipulated. The uses of a flexible battery could range all the way from watches to medical equipment and prosthetics.
However, efforts for making these flexible lithium-ion batteries have had little progress as recent designs tended to use conventional electrodes which are not flexible and in turn, ruin the battery after only bending a small number of times. Therefore, a significant role in developing a flexible battery is fabricating one in which the electrodes are flexible. For these past 4 weeks, I have been conducting research at IUPUI with Ph.D. student Nojan Aliahmad as well as graduate student Amirhossein Ahmadian to develop high-capacity flexible electrodes for a half-cell battery that can then be used when developing their flexible and rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
During my time here, I have assisted in making an electrode, the cathode in this case, of a half cell battery by producing a V2O5/GO solution. The vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), when mixed with graphene oxide (GO), exhibits favorable properties that enable us to use it to make our flexible electrodes. When the V205/GO solution is prepared, we electrospin the solution and due to Coulomb’s law, the magnetic field generated causes the solution to be sprayed into extremely thin circular layers. These layers are composed of conductive nanofibers and can, after they are baked, be added to CNT paper-based current collectors to develop the electrode.
As my research experience continues, we hope to finish and develop the half-cell flexible lithium-ion batteries and if time permits, possibly even a full cell battery. This summer research experience has not only been informational and educational, but also quite fun. I enjoy being in the lab and I look forward to completing my research here for the rest of these next few weeks.