Solid‐state lithium‐metal batteries with solid electrolytes are promising for next‐generation energy‐storage devices. However, it remains challenging to develop solid electrolytes that are both mechanically robust and strong against external mechanical load, due to the brittleness of ceramic electrolytes and the softness of polymer electrolytes. Herein, a nacre‐inspired design of ceramic/polymer solid composite electrolytes with a “brick‐and‐mortar” microstructure is proposed. The nacre‐like ceramic/polymer electrolyte (NCPE) simultaneously possesses a much higher fracture strain (1.1%) than pure ceramic electrolytes (0.13%) and a much larger ultimate flexural modulus (7.8 GPa) than pure polymer electrolytes (20 MPa). The electrochemical performance of NCPE is also much better than pure ceramic or polymer electrolytes, especially under mechanical load. A 5 × 5 cm2pouch cell with LAGP/poly(ether‐acrylate) NCPE exhibits stable cycling with a capacity retention of 95.6% over 100 cycles at room temperature, even undergoes a large point load of 10 N. In contrast, cells based on pure ceramic and pure polymer electrolyte show poor cycle life. The NCPE provides a new design for solid composite electrolyte and opens up new possibilities for future solid‐state lithium‐metal batteries and structural energy storage.
Many natural materials present an ideal “recipe” for the development of future damage‐tolerant lightweight structural materials. One notable example is the brick‐and‐mortar structure of nacre, found in mollusk shells, which produces high‐toughness, bioinspired ceramics using polymeric mortars as a compliant phase. Theoretical modeling has predicted that use of metallic mortars could lead to even higher damage‐tolerance in these materials, although it is difficult to melt‐infiltrate metals into ceramic scaffolds as they cannot readily wet ceramics. To avoid this problem, an alternative (“bottom‐up”) approach to synthesize “nacre‐like” ceramics containing a small fraction of nickel mortar is developed. These materials are fabricated using nickel‐coated alumina platelets that are aligned using slip‐casting and rapidly sintered using spark‐plasma sintering. Dewetting of the nickel mortar during sintering is prevented by using NiO‐coated as well as Ni‐coated platelets. As a result, a “nacre‐like” alumina ceramic displaying a resistance‐curve toughness up to ≈16 MPa m½with a flexural strength of ≈300 MPa is produced.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
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- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Lightweight and strong structural materials attract much attention due to their strategic applications in sports, transportation, aerospace, and biomedical industries. Nacre exhibits high strength and toughness from the brick-and-mortar–like structure. Here, we present a route to build nacre-inspired hierarchical structures with complex three-dimensional (3D) shapes by electrically assisted 3D printing. Graphene nanoplatelets (GNs) are aligned by the electric field (433 V/cm) during 3D printing and act as bricks with the polymer matrix in between as mortar. The 3D-printed nacre with aligned GNs (2 weight %) shows lightweight property (1.06 g/cm 3 ) while exhibiting comparable specific toughness and strength to the natural nacre. In addition, the 3D-printed lightweight smart armor with aligned GNs can sense its damage with a hesitated resistance change. This study highlights interesting possibilities for bioinspired structures, with integrated mechanical reinforcement and electrical self-sensing capabilities for biomedical applications, aerospace engineering, as well as military and sports armors.more » « less
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