We briefly covered conductive additives in the mixing process which is the first step in battery electrode manufacturing. We learned that conductive additives are added to improve the electrode conductivity when mixing the cathode active materials. This time, we’ll explore what conductive additives are in detail and what types of conductive materials are the most preferred in the battery industry!
What is Conductive Additive?
Conductive additives boost the movement of electrons between cathode and anode active materials.
In other words, they connect active materials to create electric properties. Although only a few of them are added to the electrodes, their role in improving battery performance is critical.
CNTs-based Conductive Additives
Recently, carbon nanotube-based conductive additives are gaining attention for their ability to make a stronger path for electron movement with smaller amounts. Then, what properties do the CNTs-based conductive nanotubes have to enable the connection between active materials even with smaller amounts?
Characteristics of CNT
A CNT is a tube with a diameter of 1 nm and is formed by carbon atoms linked in hexagonal shapes. Although it is as small as one-100,000th the diameter of a human hair, it is 100 times stronger than steel. Also, its electrical conductivity is as high as that of copper. Also, its electrical conductivity is as high as that of copper.
In addition, CNTs-based conductive additives can cut the necessary amount of conductive additives in cathode to one-fifth of its most widely used counterpart, carbon black. That much is enough for producing the same performance as carbon black-based additives due to their high conductivity, meaning higher price competitiveness. Also, the saved space can be used for adding more active materials to raise energy density.
Utilization of CNT
They offer different advantages when used for anode. In silicon-containing anode materials, they not only prevent the expansion of the anode material, but also extend battery life and shorten charging time.
These benefits are expected to propel the growth of the CNTs-based conductive additives market from $370 million USD in 2021 to $1.91 billion USD in 2027. We can look forward to what other benefits they will bring to batteries!