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Three Dimensional Direct Writing of MnO2 Battery Cathodes
Keywords: Printing, Battery, Cathode
As electronic devices shrink and their capabilities expand, an ever increasing demand is placed on the power supply for higher capacity and higher rate capability. However, shrinking device dimensions have the opposite effect on most battery systems. Smaller batteries have less active material in them simply because they are smaller in volume, but also, the percentage of volume relegated to inactive materials within the battery increases as the battery size decreases. Additionally, the rate demand on a battery during peak power is formidable, and is limited by the physical area separating the anode and cathode. One possible solution to this rate limitation is to produce very thin, flat batteries with a minimum of packaging surrounding each cell, but retaining a high surface area to support high rate demand. Since the cathode ultimately limits the capacity of the battery, having a 3D structure to the cathode could allow for higher instantaneous rate capability for the battery while still retaining a flat profile. We have developed a method for printing MnO2 slurries using an electrochemically compatible polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder and carbon electronic conductors into a three dimensional architecture. The electrochemical reduction properties for oxygen of the metal oxide are preserved after the casting process. Wetting of the electrode structure will be discussed as part of its use in a zinc-air alkaline cell, as well as electrochemical performance in both alkaline media and the use of non-traditional, ionic liquid based electrolytes for this system. Finally, incorporation of the printed cathode into a complete zinc-air cell and the performance of the battery will be discussed.
Crhistopher A. Apblett, Principle Member of the Technical Staff
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM

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