Graphite is inherently a very high electrical and thermal conductive material because of its crystalline structure. Thermally purified expanded graphite powder offers superior conductivity under a variety of conditions, and it’s proven to be an especially effective conductive carbon additive for batteries and conductive polymers.

Conductive Carbon for Li-Ion Batteries Reduces Irreversible Loss

Li-ion batteries are used in many applications because of their high energy density, low self-discharge and limited memory effect. This makes them highly capable for stationary energy storage, electric vehicles, military applications and even aerospace applications, not to mention basic electronics. Because Li-ion batteries are so well-suited to these applications, they’ve become widely used in recent years and continue to be developed further.

All Li-ion batteries face an inherent challenge that limits their life span, however. Despite their general benefits, the lithium ions that move between the negative and positive electrodes can cause significant irreversible loss. Standard graphite anode materials consume these lithium ions over time and thereby, reduce a battery’s energy density. The cumulative absorption of ions eventually limits a battery’s density to a point where the battery becomes functionally useless.

Themally purified expanded graphite limits the absorption of lithium ions to extend the lifespan of Li-ion batteries. The process can’t be entirely stopped, but using the right graphite as a conductive carbon additive does greatly slow irreversible loss and substantially extend the life of a battery.

In stationary energy storage, electric vehicles, military applications, and aerospace applications, extending the life span of Li-ion batteries is particularly important.

Conductive Carbon for Advanced Lead-Acid Batteries Reduces Lead Sulfate Buildup

Advanced lead-acid batteries are well established as affordable, reliable, safe and recyclable batteries. Their traits make them widely useful in many different applications, and these are currently the most popular type of energy storage system used today.

If improvements aren’t made in advanced lead-acid battery technology, however, these batteries will soon fall to the wayside in favor of more capable options. While lead-acid batteries meet most of today’s energy storage needs, they won’t meet tomorrow’s needs in their current form. Changes have to be made.

Specifically, advanced lead-acid batteries don’t perform well enough under High-Rate Partial-State-of-Charge (HRPSoC) conditions. These conditions create rapid accumulation of lead sulfate on a battery’s negative plate, and this leads to premature battery failure.

Using thermally purified expanded graphite as a conductive carbon additive minimizes the buildup of lead sulfate, which extends the cycle life of these batteries. In particular, the conductive carbon is particularly useful in HRPSoC conditions like tomorrow’s batteries will require.

At the same time, conductive carbon can also be used to reduce an advanced lead-acid battery’s internal resistivity. The electrical conductivity properties of conductive carbon make it a good choice for improving internal resistance rates.

Conductive Carbon for Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are a mainstay in energy storage, even if they don’t offer all of the benefits that some other kinds of batteries do. Most alkaline batteries suffer from the following issues.

The positive electrodes in alkaline batteries are commonly made from magnesium dioxide. While this material does have certain positive characteristics, magnesium dioxide isn’t actually a highly conductive material. A lack of conductivity at the positive terminal creates obvious inefficiency within any battery.

This issue can be addressed by adding high purity expanded graphite powder as a conductive carbon. In this application, the conductive carbon additive doesn’t serve as a substitute for the magnesium dioxide electrode. The positive terminal is still made primarily from magnesium dioxide. The conductive carbon is added to the magnesium dioxide in order to improve the terminal’s conductivity.

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Conductive Carbon for Thermal Management

Thermal management sheets are widely used in the electronics industry to shepherd heat away from circuit boards, chips and other temperature-sensitive system components. While metals, such as aluminum and copper, have been used in the past, conductive polymers hold more promise for the future.

Aluminum and copper are the most common metals used for thermal management sheets, and they are effective to an extent. However, as the specifications of electronics become more demanding, these metals are becoming less suitable for cooling. They are deficient compared to conductive polymers in two areas.

First, aluminum and copper simply aren’t as thermally conductive as some of today’s more advanced polymers can be. More sensitive electronics and a trend away from fans as cooling mechanisms are creating a growing need for highly thermally conductive materials. Metals aren’t conductive enough in certain situations.

Second, aluminum and copper thermal sheets are heavier than their polymer alternatives. Every bit of weight is vitally important when trying to maximize efficiency in a car or send electronic components into space, and even consumer electronics advertise how few ounces they weigh. Polymers offer greater thermal conductivity at reduced weights.

Conductive carbon additives are, of course, needed to create these thermally conductive and lightweight temperature control sheets. High purity expanded graphite powder is incorporated into a polymer, and the mixture is then pressed into the shape that a thermally conductive foil or sheet needs to be for a particular application.

These thermal management polymers can be used virtually anywhere that metal foils and sheets are used, including in circuit boards, chips and an array of other electronic components.

Get High-Quality Conductive Carbon

For companies that produce batteries and electronic components, we at Superior Graphite have a high purity expanded graphite powder that’s specifically developed for these applications. Our FormulaBT™ and FormulaPT™ product lines consist of conductive graphitic carbon that is specially developed to provide electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity, while simultaneously being lightweight and maintaining good mechanical properties. It is ideally suited for applications in Li-ion batteries, advanced lead-acid batteries, alkaline batteries, and electrical components, polymers and the additive can easily be incorporated into these applications during processing.

To learn more about our FormulaBT™ and FormulaPT™ conductive carbon additives and how it could improve your batteries’ or electronics’ performance and life span, contact us to speak with one of our representatives. We will be glad to answer any questions you have and explain exactly what this conductive carbon could do for your application.