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Recent Developments in Lithium Ion Battery Separators

SpecialChem / Mark DeMeuse – Jun 21, 2011

In this article, a discussion is provided of some of the most recent technical advances in the area of battery separator films which are being developed for use in lithium ion batteries. Much of this work is being driven by the continued interest in using these batteries in electric and hybrid electric vehicle applications. Safety is one of the major considerations for the use of several of these film products. Battery separator films in lithium batteries are membranes that keep the battery’s positive and negative fields, which are wrapped in a jelly-roll configuration, from touching. Within a battery, the separator is a sheet which is positioned between the two electrodes. It functions to act as a barrier that prevents the electrodes from coming into contact and causing a short circuit while letting lithium ions pass back and forth to allow for the charge and discharge of the battery.

With the continued emergence of electric vehicles (EV’s) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV’s), there has recently been an increased level of interest in new battery separator film formulations for use in lithium ion batteries These new films are focused on significantly enhancing the power, safety and reliability of the lithium ion batteries. These advances are necessary in automotive battery applications because of the large-format size of the cells as well as the need to allow for very high energy and power flow. The development of these new products will speed the adoption of these smaller and lighter batteries into lower-emission vehicles. This article will first briefly review the current status of lithium battery separator technology and, then, discuss some of the most recent technical advances in the area of battery separator films and how those developments can affect the battery performance.

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