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  1. Abstract

    Lithium–sulfur (Li–S) batteries have a high specific capacity, but lithium polysulfide (LPS) diffusion and lithium dendrite growth drastically reduce their cycle life. High discharge rates also necessitate their resilience to high temperature. Here we show that biomimetic self-assembled membranes from aramid nanofibers (ANFs) address these challenges. Replicating the fibrous structure of cartilage, multifactorial engineering of ion-selective mechanical, and thermal properties becomes possible. LPS adsorption on ANF surface creates a layer of negative charge on nanoscale pores blocking LPS transport. The batteries using cartilage-like bioinspired ANF membranes exhibited a close-to-theoretical-maximum capacity of 1268 mAh g−1, up to 3500+ cycle life, and up to 3C discharge rates. Essential for safety, the high thermal resilience of ANFs enables operation at temperatures up to 80 °C. The simplicity of synthesis and recyclability of ANFs open the door for engineering high-performance materials for numerous energy technologies.

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