Potassium metal batteries are competing with lithium-ion

Researchers were able to solve the problem of the occurrence of dendrites in potassium batteries, which are a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion technologies.

The dependence of mankind on energy storage devices is constantly growing, but due to the limited and high cost of lithium, the demand for more affordable and safe solutions is increasing. One of these alternatives is potassium batteries, which can compete in performance with modern lithium-ion batteries.

However, like all metal batteries, they suffer from dendrites (processes on the anode), which are formed during charging / discharging, and ultimately can cause a short circuit and fire of the device.

A group of scientists from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from the University of Maryland found a solution to this problem by controlling the internal temperature and smoothing the resulting dendrites.

The bottom line is that whenever the battery is not in use, the built-in control system begins to heat it. In this case, the temperature does not melt the metal, but rises high enough to activate the self-healing of the processes due to the activation of surface diffusion of potassium atoms, forcing them to move in the lateral direction.

This method is also applicable to lithium-metal batteries, but researchers found that potassium requires much less heat to complete the self-healing process.

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