According to the foreign media, the University of Bayreuth is collaborating with renowned industrial partners such as Tesla Germany and Varta Microbattery to develop novel battery separators made of glass.
The joint project, called GlasSeLIB (glass separators for lithium-ion batteries), is to improve further the safety of high-tech batteries and extend their service life at the same time. To a large extent, battery safety depends on the separators, which ensure spatial separation of the electrodes and prevent a short circuit.
Currently, most separators are made of polymer films. When the battery is overheated, these materials can become unstable and may not be able to separate the two electrodes. On the other hand, the polymer films are chemically passive. To increase the cells’ energy content, manufacturers are currently trying to reduce the proportion of chemically passive materials and use more chemically active materials. However, as with polymer films, when safety components are involved, this can also be problematic, according to the University of Bayreuth.
The new glass separators are expected to be “filigree membranes” with temperature resistance of at least 500 ℃. With this separator, it will be possible to improve further the operational reliability of batteries in electric vehicles, laptops, smartphones, and numerous other high-tech applications.