Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2017

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering, PhD

Committee Chair

Park, Sam

Committee Member

Berfield, Thomas

Committee Member

Brehob, Ellen

Committee Member

Sumanasekera, Gamini

Author's Keywords

renewable energy; sustainability; grid storage; nanostructured materials; aqueous

Abstract

One of the primary motivations driving battery technology research is the need to develop cleaner and more efficient energy storage systems. The portable electronics industry has developed exponentially, especially over the last couple of decades and therefore the importance of efficient electrochemical energy storage systems cannot be overstated. Li-ion batteries have been the predominant rechargeable energy in use, however, they have their own particular drawbacks viz. flammability of the electrolyte, expensive mining of the Li metal etc. This is where the importance of Na-ion batteries lie. This research focuses on using existing transition metal oxides (TMOs) and tuning their crystal structure as well as morphology for application as anodes in the Na-ion battery systems. The three TMOs used in this thesis are copper (II) oxide (CuO), iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3) and titanium (IV) oxide (TiO2). They are chosen based on their easy availability, affordability and structural flexibility. Aqueous environment has been chosen as it tends to involve simpler and easier fabrication, lower overhead costs and reduce the complexities of glovebox based assembly techniques. Improvement of kinetics and understanding as well as improving structural stability have been the main goals of this dissertation. The analysis is performed by a two-way approach. Multiple morphologies of CuO are used to study the effect of surface area and porosity on kinetics. Similarly, the effect of doping different types of atoms in the hematite (α-Fe2O3) structure is studied in detail and the influence it has on the electrochemical performance. Finally, both the techniques are coupled to study the effects on the TiO2 anode system. It is expected that this dissertation will provide a comprehensive framework for the degradation analysis of simple TMO anodes in aqueous Na-ion battery systems, something which will add significant intellectual merit to the burgeoning field of aqueous rechargeable batteries in general.

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